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by Daneal Weiner

May the hesorerus of this d’var Torah mehapech the Din a bring refua and yeshua to all cholei Yisrael.

Is it just me or do other people wonder why Disney, the world at large for that matter, most always portray the dabblers of dark forces as witches and only rarely do we ever get to see a warlock? That’s my question for the week. Rav Wolfson asks something different.

Parshas Pekudai

opens, “These are the accountings of the Tabernacle of testimony which were collected at Moshe’s bidding. The labor of the Levites was under the auspices of Isamar, son of Aharon the Kohen.” Commentaries ask what one half of the verse has to do with the other? Not only are they disconnected but the labors of the Levites isn’t discussed for another 12 parshas?!

To understand their relationship we first have to understand some others. Just as we refer to a beginning as the rosh- head, similarly we refer to the end as the foot, or rather, the heel- ikvisah. Chazal- our Sages refer to the end of time as the ikvisah dimashicha. Figuratively we translate it as “the footsteps of the Messiah.” The time of his arrival is so imminent it’s as if we already hear his footsteps approaching. Any beginning has the quality reishis, from the root rosh, and any end carries the qualities of ikvisah.

Adar is last in the order of the months so it is an ikvisah. Each month bears a characteristic of either Rachamim - Mercy or Din- Judgement. A verse in Devarim says (4:30), W hen you are in distress and all these things have befallen you, at the en d of days. Two things are emphasized in this verse. 1) Hardships- D in and 2) End of days- ikvisah. Just as on a macrocosmic level , the end of days will be a time of Din, so too on the microcosmic level the end of time, Adar, is a time of Din.

Holy writings say that the way to sweeten Din is to go to the source. Not it's source but the source, the Rei shis. Keser means Crown and Keser is the crown of the 10 Sfiros. The 10 Sfiros are spiritual realms of infl uence anthropomorphically named so we can have some understanding of our relationship with Hashem and so we can emulate His ways. Keser is the Rosh and by Keser, Din does not exist. The Zohar cryptically alludes to this idea in the terse expression, Leis smolla b'asika. Literally it translates as something to the effect of There is no left by old.

Asika means old. The oldest of the old is what came first, Reishis! Smolla means left and left represents Din. Right represents Chesed- kindness. Chassidic garb place s the buttons on the left so the right closes over the left, symbolizing Chesed subduing Din. Deeper still, that word for left' is a homonym for the spiritual entity we refer to as the force of impuri ty. We don't say its name but refer to it by the first two letters, samech-mem or by the alias, sitra achrah- (lit.) the other side. A time of Din is a time of the sitra achrah. Certainly a ll judgements are from Hashem but it is the sitra achra which is e mpowered to bring charges before the Heavenly Court against us, collectiv ely and individually, and then inflict upon us the causes of our sufferin gs, r'l. Leis means none. Putting all this together, Leis smolla b'asika is transformed from There is no left by old. to There is no Din by Reishis. And as we said, Re ishis is synonymous with Keser.

On Shabbos we merit a dose of the influence of Keser during the mussaf kedusha. The Sfard siddurs start that kedusha with the word Keser. Tradition tells us that when we say the word < I>ayai angels come down and crown us. Kabbalistic sources say the word ayai' is an acronym for Es Yom HaShabbos and that moment is the pinnacle of Shabbos day. Holy writings say that when it co mes to Purim we bask under the influence of Keser the entire day! And it is thanks to Mordechai whom, the Midrash says, his soul is from Reishis. We know from Moshe's blessing to the tribe of Gad at the end of Devarim that Reishis also points to Moshe. The Arizal says it straight out, that Mordechai was a reincarnation of Moshe. Moshe, Mordechai, Reishis and Keser all add up to a swee tening of the Din, giving Adar, the ikvisah, the power of t urn about! Of a reversal of fortune! Which is good because it was worse than you thought.

Hashem's 4 letter Name (yud and hey, vav, hey) has 24 possible letter combinations. Since two letters are the sa me, the 24 come out as 12 different combinations in duplicate. Each combination, called a tsiruf, is the DNA which makes up the character o f one of the 12 months. Each tsiruf can be found as the beginning or ending letters of 4 consecutive words appearing in a verse somewhere in Torah. If the letters appear at the head of the words it is a sign its corresponding month has an increased attribute of Chesed and if they appear at the heel of the words it means a greater measure of Din. Furthermore, the order of the 4 letters are also an indication of more Chesed or Din, as we will see later on.

The verse for Adar is from Breishis, midst the blessings Yaakov is giving the tribes. He blesses Yehudah, the progenitor of the crowned kings of Israel and of the messianic line and he includes a prophecy of things to be in the time of the mashiach. He says (49:11), Osri lagefen iroh v'lasoraikah b'ni asono - He will tie his donkey to the vine, to the vine branch his she-donkey's foal. The contextual message is that in the time of the redemption the produce of Israel wil l be soooo abundant that a single vine will require a donkey to carry away its load of grapes. Just a branch of the vine will require at least a young donkey, its produce being too much for one man to bear. [Many people confuse Yaakov's sign of the redemption with the State of Israel's importing 15% of its annual food consumption plus receiving over 2 Billion dollars in hand outs and deduce the redemption has started already.]

The tsiruf of Adar comes from the last 4 words of Osri lagefen iroh v'lasoraikah b'ni asono which end w ith hey, hey, yud and vav. This tsiruf of Hashem's Name being found at the end of the words is a sign that Adar is a month of D in, under the auspices of the sitra achra.

The sitra achrah actually consists of a male and female counterparts. It's actaully the husband who is called the samech-mem and the wife', another name we don't pronounce, is l-i-l-i-th. Whatever this means, the Zohar adds to our lack of understanding by saying she is more powerful than he! [At least we knock ed out my question on Disney.]

The holy Ohr Hachaim, in his commentary on Yaakov's p rophecy, mentions that Zohar (she is stronger than he) and shares with us a personal experience. He writes, A vision was shown to me in a dream where I was wrestling with the male and it was easy for me to subdue him and I fell him with my strength. With the female I had to muster all my strength a number of times and only after much effort did I manage to sen d her to the ground, but not like her husband. Applying this to what w e know of the tsiruf, we can add that the order of the masculine a nd feminine letters is yet a further indication of more Chesed or more Din. The yud and vav are masculine and the h ey is feminine. The tsiruf of Adar, found at the heel of the w ords, has both heys preceding the yud-vav, giving Adar, the ikvisah, a very strong dose of Din which does not fare well for the Jewish people! Oy! But remember, Adar has the power turn about and sweetening the Din and we see it right here!

Why did the Ohr Hachaim bring all that he did on this verse in Breishis? What do donkeys, she-donkeys and grapes have to do with Zohars on the sitra achrah? The contextual understanding o f the verse was more grapes then a man could carry'. The deeper mean ing of the text is that in the time of the mashiach, even the stronger fe minine attributes of the sitra achra, represented by the she-donkey, will be subservient to the Jpeople! The verse in which we learn the of Adar as being Din on top of Din is the very same verse which foretells the sweetening of the Din! What a sweet Ohr Hachaim!

Now we have a deeper understanding of events at the beginning of the Megilla. Achashveirosh becomes enraged with Vashti and seek s advice on how to deal with her. Memuchan, whom the Gemorah says was the Prophet Daniel, steps forward and suggests Vashti never come before the king again (wink wink). But more than this, (1:17) the deed of the que en will come before every woman making their husbands contemptible in the ir eyes. Every time the Megilla has the word king without qualif ying Achashveirosh it can be read as referring to the King of kings. Although Memuchan stood before Achashveirosh his words were dire cted a little higher. Memuchan said (1:19-20), If it pleases the King let there go forth a royal edict from Him 85 All wives will show r espect to their husbands, great and small alike. (1:21) This proposal pleased the King. The wives had to humble themselves before their husbands. Specifically the wife of the samech-mem! The sweetening of the Din had already begun.

We explained above that any ending is an ikvisa. The time of Purim was the end of the Babylonian exile! The Second Holy T emple was waiting to be built! That was more than an ikvisa. It was an ikvisa dimashicha! Interesting, this proclamation of the King we just spoke of. We ourselves just witnessed what could be the very thi ng Memuchan sought to defuse. For the last 30 years the women the western world, under the terrible misguidance of a well meaning few have foun d the men contemptible in their eyes. Feminism, rather than emphasizin g the value of the women, said women could be better men then the men.

Although tangential to this dvar Torah, I hope you will find this interesting. I understand from a lecture and a private follow up discussion with Rav Nachman Bulman, shlit'a, that the nature of the world is for their to be a mashpiah and a mushpah- the one who influences and the one who is influenced. The giver and the receiver. The masculine force and the feminine force. Heaven, for example, is a . A masculine force. Its rain and sun are taken in by the ea rth, the mushpah, which allow her to give forth life. It is self e vident that neither the masculine mashpiah nor the feminine mus hpah is more important than the other. They are two critical roles. A ll of nature is set up by this functional balance. If at any time the bal ance is upset, nature will seek to repair itself. If it can't do it pro perly so, it will do it corruptibly so. If the women expend their energie s to masculinize themselves they will affect an effemination of the men a nd, as we all know, the aftermath of that is a breakdown of the family un it, structure and value.

I understand, due to news and articles which come my way, that tides are just beginning to turn and the western woman is beginni ng to value womanhood. Whatever the outward cause of their return, per haps the real cause is the ikvisah and Din is turning i nto Chesed. Unfortunately, the Jews on the outskirts of the camp, those most influenced by the foreign philosophies, are now stepping into the destructive influences of feminism, even as the ones they are modelin g are stepping out. May Hashem open their eyes and return them quickly an d safely.

This universal relationship in nature, mashpiah and mushpah, explains why the default' third person pronoun w ith which we reference Hashem is masculine. Because He is the Mashpiah and 99% of the time we reference Him along those lines. When it come s to the Shchinah, for example, whose presence amongst Israel depe nds on our actions, then we are the mashpiah and the Shchinah, She is mushpah, so to speak.

Taking it a step further, since the sitra achrah is adversary to the nature, the good' by which Hashem set up the wo rld, perhaps this is why in that realm the mushpuh is more powerfu l than the mashpiah. Thanks to Memuchan's plea before the King, the decree went out that the mushpah allow herself to recei ve from the mashpiah, thereby sweetening the threat of Din looming over Israel. May his plea be heard again!

Haman, on the other hand, was trying to strengthen the Din against Israel. His attack against Mordechai was an attack at the very core of Mordechai's essence. Since Mordechai's essence is and Keser that was Haman's biggest mistake. Haman, described in the Megilla, verse 9:24, as Tsorer kol hayehudim- enemy to all Jews 3D 620 3D Keser. The gallows on which he wanted to hang Modredchai was 50 amos high, reflecting the 50th Gate of Wisdom, s ynonymous with the Reishis and Keser. Gavoah chamishim a mah- 50 amos high 3D 620 3D Keser. Haman met his match and M ordechai was his name- Shmo Mordechai 3D 620 3D Keser.

Not only do the names of the 10 Sfiros describes attributes of Hashem for us to emulate, the Torah calls Hashem by differ ent Names for that same purpose. The Name of Hashem associated with the sfirah Keser is Ehekeh. We are introduced to this Name when Moshe, just instructed by Hashem to go to Egypt, asks Hashem, If the p eople ask me Who is redeeming them, what Name shall I give them? Hashe m answers, Ehekeh. Now that we understand that the ability f or Israel to have been redeemed, even having sunk to the 49th level of im purity, came from a place where no sin can reach and where Din doe s not exist, the sfirah of Keser, we can understand its rel ationship with the Name, Ehekeh. It was present at the ikvisah of the Egyptian exile just as it was present at the ikvisah of the Babylonian exile. The Arizal points out that in the verse which says it all (9:1), It was turned about! The Jews prevailed over their enem ies - asher yishlitu hayehudim haimah, the last 4 words of start with the 4 letters Hashem's Name Ehekeh . Remember from the tsiruf that Hashem's Name found at the b eginning of the word is a sign of Chesed as is the masculine lette rs preceding the feminine! Haman's attempts to evoke Din was tur ned around and aroused Hashem's Chesed because of the ikvisah , because of Keser, because Leis smolla b'asika- there is no left of old- there is no Din by Reishis. The Zohar said Reishis is where Mordechai's soul was from. And that' s why the Megilla describes Mordechai as an Ish Yimini- (contextua lly) a Benjamanite man, (Kabbalistically) a right man. Right is . Allright!

Chazal say there is no blessing by something counted. For this reason some people will never say how many children they have. For this reason Israel is always counted by a census of coins. One time, (a verse in Chronicles tells us) the sitra achrah got the better of King David and caused him to order Yoav to take a head count. It resulted in a plague breaking out that killed 70,000 men. What's the connection? A counting is finite. It's an expression of limitation. These are the antithesis of Hashem's blessing which is limitless. Which knows no bou nds. If counting isn't evoking blessing then it's awakening Din. Israel's sins allowed the sitra achrah to overpower the king, the embodiment of the people, which released Din into the world.

In the desert Israel was always counted by the half-she kel coin and under the direct supervision of Moshe and Aharone. Not only is right and left Chesed and Din, respectively, so too are the Kohanim and Leviim, respectively, Chesed and Din. Moshe , we already know, was an allright kind of guy! In addition to thi s he performed priestly services until the inauguration of the temple and the first priests. This made him all the more Chessedic! (Did he wear a streimel?) The first half of our opening verse, These are the accounti ngs of the Tabernacle of testimony which were collected at Moshe's bidd ing tells us that even though the counting can potentially evoke Din, having been done under the direction of Moshe, he was the Chese d which kept the Din in check. But wait, there's more!

A verse in Mishlai says (28:20), A man of integrity will increases blessings. A Midrash says this is referring to M oshe. A verse in Shir Hashirim (7:5) says, Einecha b'reichos b' Cheshbone - (literally) Your eyes are pools in Cheshb. With Rashi' s help, wise men are considered the eyes of the nation because they have the Torah wisdom to see where todays actions and events will lead years d own the road. Cheshbone, is a name which means accountings'- not just counting but using ones head. Allegorically, the verse means, Your wise men flow with springs of wisdom. After the end of World War I the Chafets Chayim would break out in tears and cry, 11,000,000 dead is nothing! A joke! World War II killed over 40,000,000 people. The C hafets Chayim looked at the rise of the United Soviet Socialist Republic and said, It will last 70 years. 72 years later it was gone. Einecha b'reichos b'Cheshbone. We'll add to Rashi's transl ation that b'raichos-pools can be read brachos- blessing. The wise men bring brachos b'cheshbone- blessings with their wi sdom. Not only did Moshe have the power to avert the Din of the counting, like Adar, the month he was born, he was also able to turn it into blessing.

Repeating that the Kohanim reflect Chesed and th e Levites, Din we can now understand the connection between the fi rst and second half of the opening verse. The second half said, The labor of the Levites (Din) was under the auspices of Isamar, son of Aharon the Kohen (Chesed). Again Din has been brought un der the auspices of Chesed! Isamar, ben Aharon haKohen 3D 1055 3D A-da-r (Its milui gematri; the addition of the letters which spell the letters of Adar. Aleph+lamed+phey + delet+ lamed+tav + reish+yud+shin.) And Moshe Aharone 3D 601 3D lishlot bahem v'nahafoch hu- [our enemies thought] to prevail over them [the Jews] and it was turned about!

Every year we say in the Passover Haggadah, It wasn't one, alone, who stood against us to destroy us, rather in every ge neration many stand against us to destroy us. And Hashem saves us from their hands. From the ikvisah of Egypt Hashem commanded the Pascal offering. From the ikvisah of Babylonian Esther asked all Je ws to fast for three days and nights. That they also cried out to Hashem is obvious. Every year we need to awaken the Chesed of Keser and of Adar that there should be a sweetening of the Din. There' s no better way the tshuva way! Allright!

The late Belzer Rebbe expounded on the final verse of Yehudah's plea to Yaakov to let the brothers take Binyamin with them to Egypt, Lulei hismamanu ki atah shavnu zeh pa'amayim - For had we not delayed by now we could have returned twice. The Belzer Rebb says Yehudah is talking about returning, Tshuvah! Lulei are the letters for Elul, one of the biggest times for tshuvah! And if you delayed to do tshuvah then, zeh pa'amayim is a second chance. Zeh 3D 12, the ikvisah of the year, Adar, and its doubly al luded to by the word pa'amayim- twice because in years like this one Adar does come twice. If we hadn't done tshuva this past Elul the time to do it is now!

Haman began his prosecution against Israel, before the King, with, Yeshno am - There is a people. Chazal say yeshno is from the word yoshen'- sleeping! If Is rael is sleeping it means spiritually! His opening to attack was our slee ping in our Torah and mitsvos! Amaleik, attacked Israel at the ikvisah of the Egyptian exile in a place called Refidim, called as su ch from the root rafui- weak. Their opening to attack Israel was our weakness in our Torah and mitsvos. That's the cause. What's the cure?

Moshe sent Yehoshua to fight while Moshe positioned him self overlooking the battlefield. While Moshe's hand were raised Israel would overpower Amaleik. Commentaries say Moshe's hands were raised in prayer and when the men would see this they too, with eyes already raise d, would turn their hearts to Hashem Who then granted them victory. I heard, from Rabbi Zev Leff, I believe, that Moshe's holding up his hands- over his ears- represented our placing the na'aseh- we will do before the nishma- we will hear . We will do and we w ill hear was the unanimous response of Israel by which we merited rece iving the Torah. Another merit for subduing Amaleik. The point is that it takes an action down here first to affect a response from On High. Even if the response is totally undeserved we will get it because of Keser, Reishis and Adar sweetens the Din. And most importantly, because we ask for it. Because we woke up and did something!

Not even three weeks ago Israel suffered the terrible loss of passing of Rav Moshe Weber, zt'l. Personally, I have never seen an Ohaiv Yisrael- lover of ever Jew, like him. Ba'al Tshuva Yesh iva's would bring their new students to Rav Weber and he would slap the m and kiss them, repeatedly! He saw nothing but sanctity in every Yid who walked in his door, no matter how hairy or hairless. Who can refrain fr om kissing something as holy as a Torah or another Jew?! Just days ago I heard from a Talmid muvhak- a prime student, who has spent the las t 18 years by Rav Weber's side, that once Rav Weber was present when so meone had fainted. Someone, apparently with some experience or knowledge, gave the fainted person a big slap on the cheek. It woke them up! Rav We ber figured, if a slap could wake someone physically, it should be able to wake them spiritually as well! And so he's been slapping and kissing ever since. Wake up!!! And I love you even now! There is no question that Rav Weber is working on sweetening the Din for all Israel.

The Me'am Lo'ez credits the Bachya when he points out that in the aforementioned blessing Yaakov gave Yehudah, every letter of the Hebrew aleph-beis is there except for the letter zayin whic h means weapon. The message is that the descendants of Yehud ah will not be like the other nations who will need weapons to fight. Yeh udah's descendants will defeat their enemies with the strength prevalen t in every battle fought in Tanach. Hashem and our spiritual might. With the strength generated by our mouths with our Torah, our prayer and our refraining from slander will we defeat our enemies. Rav Wolfson says he kn ew of Tsaddikim who were to weak to fast on any fast day, but Ta'anis Esther they would fast. Einecha brachos b'Cheshbone To get drunk on Purim day with out a cheshbone for when and in what condi tion one will be to pray mincha and ma'ariv it a blatant contradiction to the meaning of the day.

As we continue to battle Amaleik in every generation, and especially now when the descendants of Yishmael have taken on a charac teristic of Amaleik, we must take the first step to affect the final rede mption. We must strengthen ourselves in our Torah and prayer. We need be ready to serve Hashem swiftly and happily. And may our waking up awaken the full measure of Chesed and summon the mashiach who will lead u s to victory against our enemies.

Have a slap happy Shabbat Shalom!

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