Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Bahir

"The Bahir Illumination," by Rabbi Nehunia ben haKana who was a master of the first century esoteric school of Judaism..... a contemporary of the author of the Zohar, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
ב וְהָאָרֶץ, הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ, וְחֹשֶׁךְ, עַל-פְּנֵי תְהוֹם; וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים, מְרַחֶפֶת עַל-פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם.2 Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.
ג וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, יְהִי אוֹר; וַיְהִי-אוֹר.3 And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light.
I have underlined in red the Hebrew words "Tohu v'Vohu."
Although "Tohu v'Vohu" usually have the simple connotation of chaos and desolation, they are here described as the basic ingredients of creation.
HaShem gives existence to all things, and is therefore the ultimate Giver. Creation, on the other hand, must receive its very existence from HaShem, and is therefore the ultimate receiver.
Another important principle is the fact that HaShem is an absolutely simple Unity, and cannot be described by any qualities whatsoever. Every concept that is necessary for creation must therefore also be created. As we see, two of the most basic of these are the concepts of giving and receiving. In Kabbalistic terminology, the concept of giving is referred to as "Light," while that of receiving is called a "Vessel."
The original Vessels consisted of the Ten Sefirot in their most primitive form. In this state, they could not interact with each other, and hence, could not give anything to each other. All they could do was receive from HaShem.
In order to receive HaShem's Light, however, a Vessel must in some way be connected to HaShem. The basic difference between the spiritual and the physical is the fact that space does not exist in the spiritual, and hence, there is no way in which the Sefirot can be physically connected to HaShem. The only possible relationship is therefore resemblance. Therefore, in order to receive HaShem's Light, the Vessel must, at least to some degree, resemble HaShem.
This presents a difficulty. If HaShem is the ultimate Giver, whilst the Vessel only receives, the two are then absolute opposites. Therefore, in order for a Vessel to properly receive, it must also give.
What is therefore needed is a Vessel that gives as well as receives. The ultimate Vessel is man. If man is to receive HaShem's Light, he must first resemble HaShem by being a giver. This he does by keeping HaShem's commandments, and thereby providing spiritual sustenance to the supernal worlds. Before he can do this, however, he must also resemble HaShem by having both free will and free choice, and this is only possible when both evil and good exist.
The first stage of creation is called the Universe of Chaos or Tohu. This is a state where the Vessels, which were the primitive Ten Sefirot, could receive HaShem's Light, but could neither give nor interact. Insofar as they did not resemble HaShem, these Vessels were incomplete, and therefore could not hold the Light. Since they could not fulfill their purpose, they were overwhelmed by the Light and "shattered," this being the concept of the "Breaking of the Vessels."
It is for this reason that these Vessels are called Tohu, which comes from the root word meaning "confounded." When a person is confounded, it means that he is perceiving an idea that his mind cannot hold. Similarly, the Vessels of Tohu - Chaos received a Light that they could not hold. Just like confusion and confoundment shatter the thought process, so these Vessels were shattered.
The broken pieces of these Vessels fell to a lower spiritual level and subsequently became the source of all evil. It is therefore said that Tohu-Chaos is the source of all evil.
The reason why the Vessels were originally created without the ability to hold the Light was so that evil should come into being, thus giving man freedom of choice, which was necessary for the rectification of the Vessels. Furthermore, since evil originated in the highest original Vessels, it can be rectified and re-elevated to this level.
This Breaking of Vessels, is alluded to in the Midrash, which states that "HaShem created universes and destroyed them" (Bereshit Rabbah 3:7). It is also allude to in the Torah in the account of the Kings of Edom, at the end of Genesis 36. The death of each of these kings is said to infer the shattering of a particular Vessel and its fall to a lower level, such a fall being referred to as "death."
After having been shattered, the Vessels were re-rectified and rebuilt into Personifications (Patzufim). Each of these Personifications consists of 613 parts, paralleling the 613 parts of the body, as well as the 613 commandments of the Torah. These Personifications were then able to interact with each other. More important, through the Torah they were able to interact with man, and therefore became givers as well as receivers.
In the rectified state, the Vessels were adequate to receive HaShem's Light. In Kabbalistic terminology, this state is called the Universe of Rectification or Tikkun. As here, it is called Vohu-Desolation.
Since the Vessels of Vohu can interact, there is said to be "peace" between them. Vohu is therefore seen as the sorce of peace.
Vohu is translated as "desolation, or more precisely,"emptiness." This represents the "emptiness" of a Vessel ready to receive. The word Vohu can also be read as two words, Vo Hu, literally, "in it is it" or "it is in it."
Kabbalists also speak of Tohu as the intermediate state between potential and realization. In their initial stage the Vessels only had potential existence, in the Infinite Being, and in this state, they could not comprehend at all. Their state of realization, on the other hand, is that of Vohu.
The husks or klipot derived from Tohu-Chaos are the forces that "confound people," and cause them to have misleading visions into the realm of impurity. A complete Vessel is a vision that contains a complete, understandable idea, whereas a broken vessel is one that is confounding and confusing. The state toward which one must strive is therefore Vohu, for it is what contains the true vision...... "it is in it."
The Light of Creation which is actually concealed at creation is the Light of Torah, as can be seen in this video presentation. This concealed light or "Ohr ha Ganuz" is the Light of Mashiach.... keeping in mind that the number 11 also represents Yosef ha Tzaddik who was the 11th son of Yaacov. Yosef ha Tzadik and Chanukah are synonymous.

Wishing you all a Chag Chanukah Sameach on behalf of Rav Katz and may HaShem fill your world with the Light of Torah..... the Ohr ha Ganuz, the hidden Light of Mashiach.
Chanukah Sameach

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Other Side of Joseph

  • Prophecy vs. Wisdom
  • Joseph and the Brothers
  • Jacob - Joseph
  • Sinai
  • Gerim, Jews, Noahides...Sinai
  • History of Noahide
  • Moshiach ben Yosef - and Prophecy
  • Torah From Zion
  • etc.

Monday, November 25, 2013

What is time telling me ?

What is time telling me ?
Its all scraps of life…….and to live the moment of collecting the shards.
In other words, as in the story of Yosef ha Tzadik, understand that mazal is within the power of man to activate HaShem’s Hashgachah Pratit or Divine Providence. 
Yosef collected and Yehudah united……….and so will it be in the End of Days when the Stick of Yosef and the Stick of Yehudah become one in the Hand of HaShem.
Shavua Tov

The Sinai Prophecy

Parashas Vayeishev
The Wise One or The Prophet [חכם עדיף מנביא]
Rabbi David Pesach Katz
****Audio Lesson Mon 11 P.M. Tzfat Time – Elucidation of Article****

"Sinai. Ger Toshav. The Twelve Tribes. Israel. Gerim. Prophecy. Wisdom. Bnei Noach"…From one perspective a case can be made that this [opening blurb] is one acceptable angle of truth that could justify 1/70 faces of the Torah; if nothing else it explains history to perfection oddly enough, and can shed profound light on today's politics by more or less shining a bright flashlight upon the first Jews Noahides – the Twelve Sons of Jacob. Welcome to a new way of understanding the most obscure Noahide Law – eating the limb of a live animal, from the vantage point of the light that shone before Sinai, in a way that shines even brighter today, for all Jews and Noahides. This is the story of Joseph, his brothers, and the prophecy that sadly wasn't.

The setting takes place in our Parasha, as the Brothers are out shepherding [minus Joseph], and Jacob their father asks of Joseph to bring back a report of the Brothers. The background of the story is well-known of course, Jacob loves Joseph the most [which we will see why upon the conclusion of the article], and Joseph had just finished telling over his dreams of grandeur, only to arouse his brothers' hatred upon him even more. The story will end apparently quite sad, as Joseph is nearly killed, sold to slavery, Jacob in fact does hear of a morbid end to Joseph, and this is all in the hands of Joseph honoring his father's request, and with every intention of bringing back an evil report. Yet the real culprit to this story might surprise some to find out it is neither Jacob nor Joseph; rather a tapestry of concepts such as wisdom, prophecy, Sinai [before and after], and the reality of Jews and Noahides – Gerim. This would go down as the single biggest misunderstanding the World ever knew – for from it, the World took course as it stands to this day, and until Moshiach comes to settle the score of what happened that fateful day.

Before the light pours upon history, one crucial point needs to be made perfectly crystal clear; Jacob and Joseph learned in the tents [Torah Academies] of Shem and Ever. As much as these were schools of prophecy, and Torah was being taught, it should be noted that every Prophet must maintain a healthy diet and ability of Wisdom. Jacob prided himself in his Wisdom, not only because he was a natural at it [and it was for this that Isaac was blind to his greatness, for Isaac sought the Prophet to receive the Blessings, which in the end, Jacob prevailed over Esau], but because he saw this as the antidote over Esau as well. [This over balance would prove to be a foe to Jacob, as it would outweigh his natural prophetic abilities.] Joseph followed suit and honored his father, for the Torah calls Joseph a "Son of Elders" – which comes to imply, a Man of the Talmud, and naturally this has a connotation of being wisdom-heavy and lacking prophetic detail by nature. Jacob loved Joseph, and now we can see why, and it shall not be for naught, that Joseph is fire to the straw that is to be Esau, in the End of Days.

Contrast the Joseph-Jacob stance with the Twelve Brothers, and we have quite a different picture, intent, and philosophy –ideology altogether! The Brothers are looking at an entirely different model of the Universe; one that takes into account the entire story from a completely different angle and approach. They see themselves as Pre-Sinai "something's" – either Jews or Noahides, and their actions are thought to provide a basis of the present and the future concerning the Commandments of God. They are invested with understanding the nature of Prophecy and Wisdom and Pre / Post Sinai as repercussions. As much as they have their view [presumably from Shem and his school], Jacob and Joseph have their view [likewise from Shem]. The simple answer is that "from the mouth of God we heard two inclinations", yet practically, God engineered a drama for the ages, for these two sides would collide in a schism that we still feel today. In fact, their disagreement is the exact dilemma facing the Torah Universe in the End of Days, namely how to deal with all of the issues mentioned above [Wisdom, Prophecy, Sinai, Jews, Gerim, etc.] – all of which is embedded within the family of Jacob.

The setting is Pre-Sinai, and Jacob's men are charged with being Pre-Sinai Noahides commanded in the Noahide Laws, and yet are promised a legacy that culminate and bubble over Sinai, into a product of Jews and Ger Toshav. For Jews they will receive a new command, and the Ger Toshav will receive a new set of Noahide Laws as well, with the only major difference being that the route of command is now through Sinai and Israel as opposed to Adam and Bnei Noach. The curve ball to both Pre/Post Sinai, will be addressed through the relevancy of Prophecy vs. Wisdom to Jews and Gerim, at any given moment and calling perfect context [and in cooperation with Divine Command]. The bonus card for extra credit then will always be – what to do with Shem [himself], his Torah, his Wisdom, and his Prophecy; always issues to keep in mind – even to this day!

Thus we now have a decent arena to settle into, as the Men are shepherding without Joseph anywhere nearby, and they have just shaken off Joseph's dreams, as they sit to feast on a meal of meat. Joseph in his sector of the universe takes command from Jacob to find the Men, finds a Man in the field, and embarks on his crash-course journey that has destiny written all over it. This is where the story breaks down should we attempt to understand the sequence of events based on Wisdom. What we will see, is that from here on out, we are in a direct battle of Wisdom vs. Prophecy. Whether it’s the Torah's exegesis or Joseph vs. the Brothers, we shall see that wisdom is promised to take a backseat in face of Prophecy; and along for the ride is a reckoning of the Commandments.

To attempt to put together the pieces of the story through Wisdom, will conclude matters in a rather contrived and shallow perspective of the reality that unfolded there. Yet with prophecy we can understand that the Torah was to be understood as a prophetic moment within the sons of Jacob, for their very claim against Joseph was one of Prophecy! From the time they saw Joseph coming, the Zohar suggests that this "seeing" was actually spiritual seeing, and this is qualified by the Midrash's account of the story taking place beyond the scope of the overly simplified playing field of approximately one football field worth of events, that even simple logic dictates a much more vast arena was employed by Hashem.

 If we assume the Brothers were Prophets [as opposed to wise men - who don't come across too wise] then we can conclude their awareness to revelation of Divine Mazal [God's revealed hand spiritually] and thus all of their actions are to be portrayed as Prophetic; the results are such that the story becomes radically more profound even in the simple meaning and flow of events to add up to a story revealed as constructed by God. As their Prophecy dictates, Joseph finally does arrive on scene, and the debate is over "Eating the limb of a live animal."

It is known that Noahides Pre-Sinai had Torah knowledge from Shem as a basis of succeeding in Noahide Laws, and that their connection to God was through prophecy. It should be noted this was the practice Pre-Sinai; Joseph went against grain, used Wisdom in honor of his father, in line with the thought that after Sinai, in the End of Days, Prophecy would be missing, and this approach would be best if preempted now, in order to gain momentum – anticipating an early redemption. Joseph thus used Wisdom to perceive reality, and through Wisdom deduced that they had transgressed the Noahide Laws [this sin would have recourse on all that exists Pre/Post Sinai in regards to Jews and Noahides and in matters of wisdom and prophecy in Torah and Commandments] thus creating a complete controversy that would set the tone through the rest of Torah history, as Joseph would be found guilty by the Brothers. [For Joseph misunderstood their appropriate actions by employing Wisdom over Prophecy, and this is the precedent to all of the subjects tied into this knot. The Brothers were true to Noahide Laws through Prophecy – Pre Sinai, and of course history would commence as we know it Post Sinai.]

They found him guilty of favoring Wisdom over Prophecy, and that Pre-Sinai was to be governed by Prophecy, and Post-Sinai [although there would be a halt in Prophecy] would welcome Prophecy in the End of Days; thus Joseph was seen to be without merit in this endeavor, and Jacob is even proven to be weakened in this area, as evidenced by the Gid HaNashe [displaced sinew] by wrestling with Esau's angel [my means of wisdom to the neglect of Prophecy, for Jacob had to ask of his name]. The story as we all know it to be, saw Joseph end up in Egypt as a slave, it shows how history repeats itself often, we see in a clear lens how the story of paradigm redemption is sewn through this fractal, and of course we get a revelation of how Hashem is as always, the Creator of such events.

The story of Joseph and the Brothers is a small dose of reality that penetrates the Torah from cover to cover. Are we to approach it as a story of Wisdom, or a story of Prophecy? Is it an OK story, or a Divine account of Life? Are Shem and Moses to be seen as wise men or Great Prophets? Should we expect Prophecy to return in the End of Days – or better yet, assume that it never left? One thing remains quite certain, and that is that Joseph nearly died, and we are told of his ancestor Moshiach ben Joseph quite the same set of circumstances. It seems history repeats itself, the Torah contains the vessels of time, and the seconds are either composed through wisdom or prophecies. One thing that we can be sure of, is that the Torah has taught these lessons of life to perfection, should we but listen to its message.

Here in our generation, we race towards the End of Days – and we face the same questions and issues that the early ones faced before us. We stand today as Jews and Gerim and yet we are still stymied and divided as ever. Perhaps the solutions we still seek are to be found in questions that we never solved. For the Jew who stood in the House of Jacob, perhaps he needs to ponder the thought of Prophecy, and for the Ger of Jacob, shouldn't it be about time to begin to fathom Sinai? The answers to these contemplations are the difference between Moshiach ben Yosef who dies vs. Joseph still lives…of which we are told Joseph shall live. If that be the case, then the issue is settled, and out of Sinai will come the Gerim, ushered in by the Prophecies of Zion, Amen and Soon in Our Days.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Back to The Religion.

  Parashas Vayishlach
  Rabbi David Katz

Parashas Vayishlach resonates on one frequency that gives a certain bling to any time period in Torah history, and this pitch is none other than "religion." Our Parasha is unique in this respect, for in her contents lie the essential core of the three foundational pillars that make up our society over all of time, in Jacob, Esav, and Yishmael. As a staple of Chazal, it is said that the peoples of planet Earth will always boil down to these three, even against all odds; as east west and central parts of the planet are composed of these three figure heads. Although the Torah latent in the three dynasties is practically infinite, the focus of the parasha due to its imagery can very simply point to one direction: religion. To put it simply, "A long time ago, in 'galaxy' far far away there was Jacob, Esav, and Yishmael…while today we call it Christianity, Islam, and Zionism" … [and along the way Judaism fell in love with the 4th entity, the Ger]. And I assume in the end they lived happily ever after? – That would be the plot in "Return of the Ger," and I happen to be serious.

In the Parsha, we can easily identify the major characters, Jacob is Jacob, Esav is Esav, hidden among the women of Esav is the heritage of Yishmael, out of Esav and his wives comes the society's villain in Amalek, and hidden under the tapestry is the Ger, reminiscent of Dan's Blessing, "a viper by the path…" To state the obvious, we can see Jews, Muslims, Christians, Amalekites, and hidden tzaddikim among the nations relating to their patriarchs; but the real trick is connecting the dots between "A" and "B." For example, how does Esav [especially after we have properly understood him in proper context; see recent articles] become "The West" – and Yishmael the "Middle East" and Jacob into "Judaism [Yiddishkeit]" as we know it? The answer is simple, by looking into the imagery of the Parasha; its natural religious depictions can give insight as to how and why history became what it did. Inside we have the characters, images, and roots, throw in the Blessings that were delivered earlier, and we are ready to make our cocktail of what will become the religious scenario [Gog Magog?] dejour in the End of Days. This saga may have begun over 4,000 years ago, but it only begins to make sense from 1948 and onwards into our current present; ultimately we will realize that we went full circle, and our Parasha serves as the node where it all comes together.

From the beginning of the Parasha to its end, these are the various images and symbols [of religion] that strike with the most poignancy: Jacob, Esav, Edom, Biblical armies, God, prayer [in war], Abraham & Isaac, brotherhood, Jacob and the wrestling angel [the Satan], Israel, angels in general, Shechem, Rape – blood – seed – women – swords – circumcision – plunder –attack [of the weak] – revenge – etc. etc. etc, prophecy, Temple Mount, God's Blessings, Twelve Tribes, Rachel [and Rebecca], Machpela/Hebron, Bethlehem, Seir, Amalek, Yishmael, incest, [and into the Haftorah – Saviors/redeemers, Zion, Zionism [perforce], Ovadiah –prophet of the Gerim [finally], hidden Emunah, Shem, Moshiach ben Yosef, and Gerim [as Jacob said "Garti" ["I was a Ger"].  It is true that every Parasha perforce is "Biblical" [obviously]; yet our Parasha has the richness of vessels, that it is truly revealed as religious by nature! For all intents and purposes, this is religion; now the task is to put together the puzzle, as it is appropriate for each figurehead of Jacob, Esav, Yishmael, and Erev Rav.

[Erev Rav is the Amalekite faction of each Nation; rather than their violent upheaval or neglect (as Noah, Elijah, and Hanoch all tried to do) to vanquish them, the Ger stands to remind the World of the Noahide Laws, which serve as the victory over false religion, and ironically it is this filtering process that shakes free the Gerim from the Nations. Noah erred in that by eradicating the Erev Rav with might over mercy, he potentially blocked the Gerim from entry into the World. Shem resurrected this endeavor, and came onto Abraham, who was the first of the Gerim. The Commentators actually state that Amalek, and even Gog will fall to the Noahide Laws, thus they are destroyed with Mercy over bloodshed. King David sought to conquer the World with Noahide Laws and to bring the World under God's dominion by these means. The Zohar predicts in the End of Days, the Soul of Moses will return and achieve angelic rank (similar to Hanoch and Elijah) achieving angelic standard, in the success of this area, and the World will realize its Ger Toshav potential that it inherited at Sinai for all of Mankind.]

Now let's take a quick [over generalized] look at the three essential Blessings to Esav, Yishmael, and Jacob: "physicality" (Esav), "his hand against everyone" / "over all his brothers shall he dwell" (Yishmael) and Firstborn (Jacob). These are gross generalizations, but once plugged into our religious map latent in the parsha, we have the ingredients that over time (6,000 years of Creation to be exact) will culminate into a perfect Gog V' Magog scenario, a religious one, that King David depicts with utter clarity. We all knew it would be a religious war, yet what the pundits did not consider was the evolution over time, and again, the proper path between A-B. The Two biggest wildcards in modern thought are the Jews and the Gerim; no one thought the Gerim were real, and only the Gerim paid attention that in 1948, the Jews became Zionism. In other words, Jacob crashes the party only in recent history, and the End began with the Jews coming back to Israel; should we be surprised?
Finally, we can weave the fabric:

Esav: The brother of Jacob [with all proper context i.e. not the satirical villain, but one who went through real process of real life] who lost the Firstborn Rights. The Blessings are in the physical, time has painted a picture of Esav, one that even he has embraced [which is destined to at least partially be over-turned, as his name has the Gematria of 376 – Shalom], and all of this turned into [through sublime Mazal] the Roman empire that would take hold with the destruction of the Second Temple. The Romans needed a major boost to survive, and their life source at that time was dominion, control, and war. What better way to take command and "fly" than to convert to Christianity? They found all the armor that they would ever need to secure conquest, and hence religion was born.

As much as Jacob was involved in Torah, Law, etc. Israeli society never mastered the art of religion to be a success in the Land. Of course this requires a workable definition [and for what good reason!?] of religion. Christianity would arrive with the conglomerate of, God, idolatry, Paganism, military, doctrine, law, society, conquest, war, divine imagery, control, etc. Case in point, for every image of our Parasha, coupled with Esav's Blessings and ultimate destination [of 2000 years ago], Esav was ready to take the World by storm with his new invention of organized religion; Rome was never more powerful, as the World's first "Petra dollar" came into focus by painting a Vayishlach picture, that would even take into its possession the greatest propaganda team of all time, those found in the NT. This is essentially the Edomite exile seen in DNA of a religious reality.

Yishmael: Sets out to equal his Brother by marriage in religion. Once again, we see the images of the Parasha coupled with Yishmael's Blessings. And again, his religion is a body of work consisting in Law, raw dogma, knowledge of a deity, military, conquest, etc. Islam is practically recycling all of the old vessels into a new direction; you say "tomaytoe", I say "tomeaughtoe." Where Esav goes with perversion of might that develops misappropriated kindness [i.e. immorality], Yishmael goes with a perversion of Kindness that develops misappropriated might [i.e. bloodshed and suicide bombs]. It is very easy to see how these two religions would early on [and promised to again in the End of Days] be at war. Essentially, Esav and Yishmael [through the mazal of Hashem] have produced two distinct blends of religion from our Parasha and in the Torah up to this point. It should be noted that religious doctrine is all but one portion of religion, as religion as was pointed out is really an attempted practice of "everything." In so many words, it is an intended perversion of the Tree of Life, as opposed to a poor attempt at a false impression of Torah.

And Jacob: Jacob was not a religion until very recently, believe it or not. The Torah is the Book of Life – if we can just understand it! [Hello, calling all Gerim!!!] From the Torah's beginning, it was an Oral and spiritual guide to Life, i.e. the Torah of Shem [which still lives as the light within the Torah of Moses; pilpul], then it was what it was in the desert and onwards into the Land. In fact, from what we see in Tanach, the Jews were largely quarreling as to what exactly is the fundamental message of the Torah which ironically, when we focus on the Gerim, they had an angle of understanding that the Jews never seemed to get. [Think Priests/Light to the Nations] If you want a success story to the Second Temple, well, that was even worse in one respect, and of course the seeds of religion were sown in its stand. The Second Temple served as a type of blueprint to a proto-religion, which its destruction led to all out religiosity. [Again, pardon the generalization, space and time allowing]

Once Edom took root in the final exile, and Islam came strong onto the scene, if Jacob ever was a religion in the modern sense, that was well extinguished. Religion for Jacob would become doctrines of ritual; tools of Jewish survival in a hostile World. If Jacob had a message [which he did], it was buried inside the scholarship, in a world that saw each man for himself. Jacob was thought to be just another religion [which ironically it was purposely not measuring up for a myriad of reasons and subject to the will of God], and although Jacob had his spots of illumination buried within, the world just saw Esav, Yishmael, and Jacob…outright ignoring Yisrael, and rightfully so, for Yisrael was nowhere to be seen. Until 1948.

1948. Zionism. Yisrael/Jacob returns. Neo-Judaism spreads Worldwide. Gerim start coming out. Religion's table is set. Judaism of yesteryear is a sliver of what Zionsim will become. The imagery of the Parasha also exists for Jacob, but in a totally novel way! Women in the IDF – a new wrestler in Jacob to say the least. Judaism is in shambles, but its Zionism that is capturing the imagination and interests of the entire planet. The list goes on and on. The point is, Jacob became an organized religion like the others, but in a totally Jewish way; albeit one that still measures short of the Torah's standard. Yet in a short time, Jacob came to stand with his peers, and with the promised Messiah, all will fall to the waste side, as the Torah's sacred message will finally be delivered from a top Mt. Zion, as the Haftorah prophesies. From this point onwards, the points to connect are endless.

Jacob may be standing with the Gid HaNashe dislocated, Amalek runs wild, etc. etc. and the Gerim are
 practically invisible – all in today's publicized map of Creation. Yet this is why the End of Days prophecies exist, and are depicted this way. The puzzle fits, with its Blessings, imagery, generational time, etc. Religion came to the plate in 1948, and as much as we made it here, all three players [and the entire Biblical team that was mentioned], this should be seen as where it all started [over 6,000 years] as opposed to its end. We are all present and accounted for, three religions, Worldwide, covertly battling for supremacy. And the irony of all ironies, the impetus of victory is the one that was never mentioned in the Parasha, only alluded to by each character – the Gerim. King David says very clearly in Tehillim [he who mastered every type of Man for this reason!] – the Noahide Laws are that which brings down false religion, and ends the division amongst Man, and brings justice upon Gog Magog.

Ironically, for everything that religion stands for within a tainted perspective in this World, the Vision of Moshiach will be the clarity of the Glory of the Upper World Atzilus – Emanation. Yet to connect those dots from A-B, is easier done than said; Don't taunt the Ger.

Audio Shiur on Parasha Monday 11 P.M. [Tzfat Time]

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thinking Shabbos - New Series For Gerim

  • Shabbat For Gerim
  • Sources
  • Roots
  • Shabat Gerim FAQ
  • Introduction
  • etc.

Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ever: The Great Prophet

  • Shem and EVER
  • Mazal 101
  • Names and Wisdom
  • Jacob The Choicest of The Avot
  • Jacob The Man...Of The Field
  • Bnei Reuven and Moshiach Ben Yosef
  • Torat Emunah

Monday, November 11, 2013

Torah of Ever - Grandson of Shem

                                                            Parashas Vayeitzei
                                                                    For Ever
                                                      Rabbi David Pesach Katz

Baal Haturim: "The end letters of 'Jacob from Beer Sheva' equates to 'Ever' [Grandson of Shem]…as [Jacob was] buried [in study within the] Study Hall [Beis Midrash] of Ever; 'From Beer Sheva' – [under the same rules of equation] equates to Shem ['s Study Hall] as well."

[Bereishit 10:25 – in regards to Ever's ability to prophecy through the giving of his son's name "Peleg"] …A Great Prophet was Ever… [For he was named "Peleg" (division)...and so the World was divided…]

Welcome to the Parsha that literally began off the page deep in the Study Hall of Ever grandson of Shem; the Torah of Mazal and Emunah can finally begin.

The Torah until this point has been utterly profound, as we walked through Creation while becoming familiar with perhaps Hashem's most intimate Name [Elokim], and trekked all the way through a World's redemption, capping it off with the almost literal birth of the Ger Tzedek through the patriarchs. We saw many heroes and potential villains, even clarifying ancient history by restoring out of place context [Esau]. Let's not leave out the fall and full restoration of the righteous woman/women of history, and every other gemstone of essential truth that we can trace back in the Torah's opening chapters. However this Parsha is existentially different, for Jacob is existentially different, as he is "the choicest of the forefathers."

As a companion to the Shechinah in both the Upper and Lower Worlds, the most significant aspect of all, is his historic introduction to Truth, Torah, and Emunah that are all soaked within the ink of the pen that knows only that of Mazal – Hashem in motion alongside Man. This is the Torah of Ever, and its message is the enlightenment that comes by way of Names, speech, and every other prophetic tool that emanates out of the heart of Man. As the Talmud says, there is no [lower] Mazal to Israel, but there [certainly] is [upper] Mazal to Israel, and our Parsha practically if not literally defines it through Jacob…for "Jacob was buried in the house of Ever [as he left Beer Sheva]."
Now that we have covered/introduced "The Torah [concept] of Ever" – there is further detail one can incorporate in the guise of Jacob's development, mazal – and – names, Torah of Shem [now with proper focus], the Torah of Emunah, and perception of extraordinary depth to a Torah that is generally seen shallow in content.

In Parashas Toldos the acute premise was depicted as Esau was the more developed [Man] Servant of God as seen through his efficiency in prayer [in the field, a place of Emunah as a spiritual diet], tithing, and knowledge of Kabbalah and names, while Jacob was the simple man who was quietly prospering in the tents of Shem, unnoticed by his superiors and peers. Interestingly enough this same dynamic exists today in the yeshiva establishment, as the beginner [although seeking to build and grow naturally and properly over a long duration and commitment of time] is often, if not always overlooked by the quick witted student who flourishes quickly, while developing the skill to perceive the appropriate protocol, even if by defying time and space. This was the grave error made by Isaac when assessing the spiritual stature of his two young men. Yet as the story would have it, Esau did in fact reach his premature ceiling, as Jacob was just getting started with serving Hashem!

By the end of last Parsha, coupled with the thick content of Vayeitzei, we see that Jacob has vastly grown into spiritual manhood, becoming superior to the levels that Esau had aspired to grasp. Jacob is now a proper Man of the field, and the context within the script, is that he certainly was seeking the nourishment [like Isaac] from the prayer of the field. He is seen early on making self-sacrifice to frequent the future Temple Mount [site of the dream, opening to the Heavenly academy of Shem, etc.] and offers to Hashem a promise to properly tithe should the Blessings flow his way. To accompany these Blessings, Jacob is given the wisdom [that we will see later on] to make an eternal impression upon the spiritual World, such that was can actually envision Esau's spurned Birthright residing intimately alongside Jacob. These are all qualities, not only of the Torah of Shem, but the Torah of Ever as well, for Jacob will come to personify this prophetic tone through his sons, the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

As we all know, Jacob merited to receive his Twelve Sons through Four Righteous Wives, and the House of Israel was quickly formed from this spiritual wealth. Mentioned above in accordance with Ever is the art of prophecy through Names, and messages in language in general, as Rebecca said, "Listen IN my voice…" The examples and Divine Wisdom latent in the Tribal names are endless, as they even make up the content of the Kohen Gadol's breastplate!

One great example of the voice of the Shechinah emanating from the twelve sacred names, is if we take the Mazal [spiritual content that surrounded each birth during its term and birth, as if to define the soul of the child through the revealed reality in perception of each parent involved] of each defining/revealing statement made at each birth, we can hear the voice of the Shechinah saying [as if responding to God], "…Because God has seen my humiliation, for now my husband will love me [the Tzaddik]. God heard that I was unloved and therefore He has given me this son also. This time my husband will become attached to me for I have borne him three sons. I will gratefully praise God. God has judged me and He has heard my voice and given me a son. Sacred irony/schemes have I maneuvered to equal, my sister and I have prevailed. Good fortune has come. In my good fortune, women have deemed me fortunate. God has granted my reward because I gave my maidservant to my husband. God has endowed me with good endowment and now my husband will make his permanent home with me. God has taken away my disgrace and may God add another son. Have no fear for this son is also for you…for in the end the son of my sorrow will become the son of my right hand. [In the name of Yosef ben Avraham Indomenico]

There are many other examples of the greatness pouring out of the Tribal names that clearly point out the Torah, Mazal, Shechinah, and inspiration of Shem and Ever, once we look for the Wisdom and Mazal that prophetically is bonded with every name in the World. An example of this is the Reuven, as his name is the essence of repentance, Firstborn rights, relationship with Messiah son of Joseph, and his anti-Esau approach to life. Reuven was thus destined to live the "Reuven-Program"; it was Mazal that led to his name, and his free-will achieved his destiny from Emunah [Torah of Ever 101]. Another example of Mazal/Torah Ever is found beautifully in Judah's name – through the union of Shem – Hashem and the letter "dalet." Leah realized she should thank God for her fourth son and destined attachment to Jacob; Judah's name is essentially God's name with a perfectly placed dalet, signifying the fourth son [dalet=4 in gematria] and perfect harmony with the newly formed word within God's name "Hod" – meaning to thank. Thus Judah's name once opened up becomes as if oozing with Mazal, and as we know, this was the merit that he should earn the Kingship, through this letter dalet/4, also signaling to the future Judah-ite, King David [yet another dalet reference].

This not only works for all the Tribes, but every name that ever came/comes into existence is latent with Mazal and wisdom on the same level as seen in Reuven and Judah, and as given by Jacob and Leah. This is the Torah of Ever, it is found in the Torah of Moses, works perfect in the Torah of Shem [Torah of Life], and most importantly, we all have it in ourselves! The Torah appropriately teaches how all of Mankind can harness this Wisdom, and live a spiritual life with Hashem, and embrace our Mazal moments [in revelation, as opposed to becoming accustomed to kissing them goodbye without notice].
Wherever we find the Torah of Ever we can expect to find the Torah of Shem [as evidenced in the Baal HaTurim above].  The clear example of this in our Parsha comes over two segments – Jacob's he-goats and his garments and bread he received by God's Blessings. To express this, let's start to properly love the Ger; like Jacob, give him bread and garment.

God did not simply manifest a garment and a morsel of bread before Jacob and peacefully leave him alone; to do so, would be an action similar to God's curse upon the snake. What we did see however, was that God blessed Jacob with the Torah of Shem – a Torah of Life. Jacob received garment and bread through massive enterprise [in the house of Lavan] and sublime wisdom. No longer were the secrets of Creation withheld from Jacob, and in every aspect of Torah [of Shem] could Jacob work with Creation, now as a fully respectable Man. God didn't simply give Jacob anything, nor did he earn his way by literal curse reminiscent of the days of Adam either. Jacob used Wisdom and Torah truth [revealed and concealed parts of the Torah; mazal and relationship with God] to master his craft, which is this case was through the he-goats. He could now endure any aspect of enterprise, and was inspired with craftsmanship ability to produce the garments and bread. Jacob's voice, now found the "hands of Esau" – only Jacob could see the hand of God.

The final straw in this basket is the concept of Emunah [faith/truth/covenant of faith/truth/etc.] and how one can live in and with Emunah, to the point of a spiritual lifestyle. Jacob learned this in the field, a place that with Emunah, one can be nourished by the field on a totally spiritual level. In Jacob's day this would be called another aspect of the Torah of Shem; today this is the basis of the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev. [R' Nachman is the most profound voice of the Ger Tzedek in Torah in our times, as he brings much light to the subject and appears to be without peer on the matter.] Jacob ends our Parsha by sanctifying the appearance of angels after a treaty with Laban, ending their dispute. One can learn and apply this aspect of Torah, and integrate all that was stated above into a practice of Torah from Emunah. Simply know, that should you [by terms of Emunah] find yourself in a predicament like Jacob at this point with Laban [again through Emunah, as all of life is the Torah spiraling ironically in our lives repetitiously], one can expect to be received by Divine messengers [again, carrying one's Emunah to conclusion].

Simply put, that what made the House of Israel great [to which Gerim became the Fourth member of; i.e. Judah's dalet] was the ability to live a life of Emunah, and manifest it into a life of Absolute Trust in God. When we incorporate Shem and Ever alongside our personal Sinai experience, and metabolize our experiences and lives with Emunah – by declaring war against falsehood, and a longing to sanctify great spiritual reality, one can begin to unlock the Mazal latent in his name and life. All of a sudden, he will have a Jacob-like relationship with the Divine, and be able to identify with the House of Israel, and claim his portion.

Suddenly mundane lives can become filled with ironic twists of fate; could anyone ever imagine a Torah so clear from the House of Ever? Jacob is different, and this comes not from or by accident. In a World that is semi-regular to grace the charm of Shem [knowingly or unknowingly], it could very easily be said that our personal hero could very well be Ever – the prophet who lives within names. With a little bit of Emunah investment, you may soon realize that you are more well-equipped with the wisdom of Ever than you realized, as every day we drink of the well of the Ancient Torah found within Gerim; then and now.

Parasha Audio Class 11 P.M. [Tzfat Time] Monday Night

Thursday, November 7, 2013

SinaiStock! November - Summer of '13

Ger class 21 taught by Rabbi David Katz 
This class focuses on the topic of keeping Shabbos. Who can keep Shabbos? Who is the Goy, the Ger, the Ben Noach and the Righteous Gentile? 

  • Finally! - Noahide Shabbat Explained
  • Rambam and The Rebbe
  • Sinai...and More Sinai
  • Many Types of Nations
  • Shabbat and End of Days
  • Both Sides of The Coin
  • Shabbat or Not to Shabbat?
  • etc.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

the Odd Couple: Shem and Esau

  • Shem In All Of Torah
  • The Real Esau
  • Shem's Students
  • The Four Sons
  • What is a Man?
  • Essential Torah
  • etc.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Man Shem

Parashas Toldos

All Grown Up Now

Rabbi David Katz

Parashas Toldos bleeds of redemption all the way through its narration; as much as this is true in the revealed realm, it is the hidden dimensions that are astounding profound. Yes we have the famous prelude of the Baal Haturim commentary that informs us, that as the previous Parasha's end speaks about Yishmael [and his demise], this is a setup and introduction into Isaac's progeny and promised redemption [specifically Isaac's distant son Moshiach ben David; the fall of the Ishmaelite exile is the rise of the return of the Davidic Kingdom]. The Parasha then treks down familiar paths and by this point in history, it all seems a bit cliché; we are all too familiar with birthrights, Esau, Jacob, etc. - all the pre-requisite ingredients that we are promised will grace CNN once the infamous End of Days finally materialize.

The hidden Messianic gem however is almost entirely removed from the light of day, for the redemption begins with the mighty efforts of our Righteous Kohen, one of the Four Craftsmen of Redemption. Rashi identifies this mission to be carried out by Shem the son of Noah; not surprisingly, Shem is the all-star of the Parsha that everyone leaves out of the starting lineup; a pity, for the Torah of Shem never shined brighter than it does here with a HOF cast of the most essential Bnei Avraham at his disposal. Thus with a team of the Torah's biggest hitters present and accounted for, it’s the skipper in Shem that proves old school never grows dull. In fact, this isn't about the redemption of Shem, for Shem does just fine. This is a story about a Man named Shem, and those who claim to know that Man. Of Isaac, Rebecca, Esau, and Jacob….Jacob was a Simple Man, and interestingly enough, he served as Shem's longest tenured servant – fifty years in all. The saga perpetually begins in Toldos.

The key to understanding Shem's Torah, [as a theme to the Parasha] is to first understand real everyday life; namely the World of the Ger, for the Ger's world [while devoid of Jewish partisanship] is semi Divine [which the same is said of the Jew without the Ger, for the revelation of Hashem requires both working together mutually], yet the Torah's vessels are founded on that World by the history's greatest Gerim that ever lived. The World of the Ger [and thus the Torah's natural arena] is extremely profound once we know to approach it within its holiness, and as much as the Jewish tradition may preach the innards of classic Holiness [as subject to the Land of Israel and the Holy Temple], Jewish reality is often missing key content that is the DNA of the Torah's vessels. When the two come together [through Shem's Torah], we should have absolute revelation of [Moses'] Torah, and by this token, Parashas Toldos comes to introduce us to this Divine reality that is in store for the Humanity in the real End of Days.

Enter into focus Jacob and Esau who are seen inheriting greatness from their supernatural parents in Rebecca and Isaac, making the Torah's original "First Family," and interestingly enough, all of them were influenced directly and explicitly by Shem [son of Noah]. Rebecca grows up in Shem's backyard, as one of the original yeshivas was nearby; Rebecca displays the sign of Shem's Torah, as she proves to be the subject and eventual master of "Mazal" – God's providence in motion. [Look at her relationship with Eliezer who predictably met her at the well through knowledge of Mazal, and her keen eye for Jacob, due to perception of God's hand in her life.] Remember too, it was Shem that she ran to for counsel over turbulent womb. And Rebecca is not alone, as Isaac enrolled with Shem and Ever after the Akeida [binding of Isaac], and once Abraham passes on and Isaac is married, we lay witness to Isaac coming into his own as a proper Man – the level attained with mastery of Shem's Torah. [As in a True Man of God, like his father Abraham before him – who also learned this from Shem] this brings us to Esau and Jacob the would be and would be not subjects to carry out Shem's master plan of Creation that will culminate to the Torah being given at Sinai.

 Many authorities point out, that Esau's head was pure, and as the Zohar expresses, it is only his lower half that found him his trouble and feuds with Jacob. Yet as different as these two were, and the specific paths each took in life based on their appropriate Blessings from a uniquely inspired Isaac, the World did ultimately become a perfect place. By the End of Days we will have full glimpse at the polished vessels that were developed through many regimes and fallen empires that were ironically spearheaded by the World's last exile – Edom. By then, both Jacob and Esau's Blessings will have come into fruition, as a stage finally set, for Gerim and Jews to unite – based on a playground designed by God through the agency of Man – only to be understood through the lens of Torat Moshe and inspired by Torat Shem.

Esau would eventually conquer the World and take over her reigns, in efforts to satisfy every desire. This could be a very hedonistic way of viewing the World – and rightfully so, as one need not look too far even today to see that what we have become is not something to be proud of. Yet this is precisely where the Jewish – Ger union plays its strong hand best, for the World boasts supreme greatness if we know where and how to look. When Jacob's blessings mesh with Esau's, properly expressing itself as the best of Jacob and Esau through "Love the Ger" – on both sides, as the Torah of Moses commands upon Mankind, the Torah of Shem can then finally spread its wings and inspire the World – even on a Messianic level, for Shem is part of the Moshiach process as evidenced by the Four Craftsmen.

The World is filled with sports, politics, and vessels of every Wisdom known to Mankind. We can view it as a waste of time, a tool of the arrogant, or even worse a perversion to the Torah, yet on the flipside, if we find Shem's connection to Divine Light under the matrix, suddenly greatness can illuminate in vessels that we all can easily grasp and absorb. Once the unification has occurred among the Torah's practitioners [by way of their familiarity with this function of spirituality – Jews and Gerim], then the Torah of Moses is transformed from archaic meandering text into the Book of real life, or as the Zohar reveals, it finally yields its essential fruit as the ultimate Tree of Life. The Torah finally becomes the book of Man, insight into our greatest attributes that we all possess, for we just knew not to call that the spark of Holiness in all of us. Man was told that this is to our disgrace, as we grew fond of Amalek over our dear Shem, yet the light that comes out of Toldos every year as we trek towards the Hidden Light of Creation i.e. that which the Menora stands for, will eventually heal our virgin eyes.

As Esau's World shines under the tutelage of Shem revealing greatness among true Men of all ages, shapes, and sizes, we can then infuse Jacob's spiritual World into our daily existence. All of a sudden, perhaps there ARE Holy people around on both sides of the ball – praying, learning, talking to God, keeping the commands, enjoying this light from a distance, all under the category that we call a personal desire for God. Yet how can we gain a clear view of this complex tapestry? Jews, Gerim, Amalek, Shem, God, Spirituality – all together, Where?! Parashas Toldos, would be a start, and from there the Torah as we know it, and onwards into the Living Torah called the Life of YOU. The Real Man and Woman in each respective vessel, allowing the Real Jew and Ger to finally do what all of Humanity wants to do: walk with The Lord as Adam.

Maybe Esau went to the field [as Isaac did] to pray? Maybe we literally watched Isaac become the proverbial [Great] Man – like Abraham before him, only now we are privy to witnessing it. Maybe Jacob really was a simple Man – for he was a late bloomer [hence Isaac's "blind eyes"]. Maybe Rebecca fit right into this story and family, as the Torah shows what a real Woman's spirituality is with God – a daily affair with Mazal [from God].

 To make a long story short, perhaps what we see every year in Toldos is real life…real life being performed by exceptionally great people. The real scholar as he wakes up over 50 long/short/mazal filled years. This of course takes place alongside the real Man who blossomed earlier than his adversaries, took full advantage, and married his date with destiny. Perhaps he emulated his father in prayer [in the field], yet the job called for more authenticity – Torah a precedent over Tefilah? Jacob being the young Torah scholar would come into his own greatness and Manhood down the pike, once he learns to merge Torah and Tefilah. Life's lessons go on and on in the Parasha, the secret being look for subtle greatness, the kind that we all know yet are afraid to fully express to the mind's ear.

Shem certainly lives in the ivory towers of Toldos, and the whole Torah of Moses for that matter. While most are looking for mind blowing quotes and Divine images, have you ever heard the soft voice of a wrestler or pondered his six minute plight with destiny? Wrestling is just one of an infinite array of analogies that the Torah of Shem can be fully felt and expressed. In short all that which requires Manhood, we can fully expect that Shem will certainly have words of Wisdom for you, words to apply to all facets of life, as pristinely drawn out in the Torah of Moses.

 We live in a dogmatic World when it's at its best, and somehow we lose sight of the territory and in exchange for a map that ironically leads us to nowhere. The destination we seek we actually have no clue, for only once we arrive do we realize what we now are – a realization of the essential "Adam" – a product of wrestling or whatever. "Whatever" – are the thoughts of man, until a few Parshiot from now we will encounter Jacob wrestling with an angel and strangely asking him his Shem or whatever. Whatever its worth, Jacob became a Man, and Toldos captured every moment of Life's little sagas, that just happens to be a fractal of Shem, Gerim and Jews working to bring God's light into our lives. When we can learn to trade-in our whatever's for what the Torah is echoing from Gan Eden, then perhaps we can enjoy life as Adam…something that if you look carefully into our Parsha, you will see that Shem the Man already beat you to it, just look at his team.

Audio Shiur Sunday Night 11 P.M. [Tzfat Time]
Click Here For Link To Classroom!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ger 101 - The Ultimate Ger FAQ and Guide

  • Who is a Ger?
  • What is a Ger?
  • Why Gerim?
  • Who Are The Noahides?
  • Gerim and Shabbos?
  • Torah and Gerim!
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about, "What is a Ger?"
  • etc.

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