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Deeper than Technicalities

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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

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Deeper than Technicalities

The following shows that which is deeper although it may seem technical.

 

1) The nekuda of קָמַץ, kamatz represents din, as it is closed to abundance (קמץ means close, shut[1]) whereas a פַּתַח symbolizes chessed, as it is opened (פתח means to open) to bounty. For this reason, we don’t say משיב הרוח ומוריד הגָשֶם, He makes the wind blow and the rain descend,[2] with a kamatz[3] since it is Hashem’s nature to do good, and not to be closed, stingy and parsimonious (קמץ)! Instead we say הגֶשֶם, with a segol (אֶ), which alludes to chessed, as is shown in the nekudos under the word חֶסֶד which are both segols. We want it to be גשמי ברכה, rains of blessing.[4] In fact, after משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם we say מכלכל חיים בחסד, He sustains the living with kindness.

2) If the letters בג”ד כפ”ת begin a word they have a dagesh (dot in the letter, as in בּן) unless it follows the letters אהו”י (as in או בן יגח,[5] where there is no dagesh in the ב).[6] There are letters missing from different words due to our many sins which caused galus. They are the ה and ו from י-ה-ו-ה, the א from כסא (as it says כס י-ה, throne of Hashem), י from ירושלים and the ו from אליהו.[7] These missing letters are אהו”י. The Bnei Yissaschar[8] tells us that after these letters we don’t have letters with a dagesh because a dagesh symbolizes strength, strict justice (din) as is represented by its strong pronunciation. This is in contrast to that which has a soft pronunciation. Once we get these missing letters back, there won’t be any more strength of din (חוזק הדין) in the world. These letters—אהו”י—have a gematria of 22, the same number of days in the Three Weeks, the time we mourn the Beis Hamikdash (which caused us to be in galus).

 

3) To make a word into future tense, there are four letters we use (אשמור, I will guard. תשמור, you, she will guard. ישמור, he will guard. נשמור, we will guard.). These four letters are ת, נ, א, י, which spell the word תנאי, condition, because this is what it does, as you stipulate for the future.

 

4) When the letterא  is placed at the beginning of a verb, it provides the subject. For example, an א at the beginning of the verb שמר, to guard, converts the word ,אשמור I will guard. As the letter א represents Hashem’s unique power, its placement at the beginning of a verb provides the subject responsible for carrying out this specific action. The letter א was chosen to represents the “I,” to stress that the subject performing this action obtains his power only from Hashem, as without Hashem’s wish no one can perform any action.

 

5) The letterת  in dikduk means “you” as well as “she” (as in תרד, she/you [masculine] will go down). What is the reason for this? It is quoted from the brother of the Maharal that this is because כל כבודה בת מלך פנימה, every honorable princess dwelling within[9] (a woman’s tznius, modesty). So that which is the relationship of a man — “you” which is direct — is also that of a woman — “she” which is indirect.

 

6) The first set of three different vowels are the cholam (וֹ), shuruk (וּ) and chirik (וִ). Each of these vowels represent different aspects associated with one of the three spheres of creation. The highest sphere occupied by Divine angels corresponds to the cholam. The cholam occupies the highest position of all the vowels and is placed above the letter. This represents the formation of the Divine and angelic sphere. Additionally, the letters that comprise the word חֹלָם spell חֲלֹם, a dream, a state in which one may experience lofty Divine disclosures.

 

The next lower sphere, which is occupied by the planetary orbits, corresponds to the shuruk. The shuruk is placed in a central position, just like the middle celestial spheres of the planets. This sphere connects the upper and lower sphere. Consequently, when we reorder the letters of the word שֻרֻק we get קשר, a knot, alluding to the fact that its positioning ties together the cholam and chirik. This is just like the sphere occupied by the planetary orbits that connects the spheres above and below it.

 

The lowest sphere, our physical world, corresponds to the chirik, which is below the letter (the lowest). Shuffling the letters of the word חִרִק, we get to the name קרח — who was buried alive underground, the lowest point, just like the chirik which is placed at the lowest point. Rearranging this word again, we get the word רחק, distance, as what the chirik vowel represents — this world — is the furthest away from the upper worlds. The word חרק also spells חקר, to investigate and question. In this physical world, the human mind continuously explores new frontiers of knowledge.



[1] A קמצן is one who is a miser, stingy.

[2] We know that at times the weather forecasters are mistaken with their prediction. R’ Yaakov Kamenetsky commented that the weather bureau is accurate in their prediction as that is what they see. However, Hashem is משנה עתים ומחליף את הזמנים, Hashem alters periods and changes the seasons.  Consequently, one moment it appears that it will rain and then it changes.

[3] See however Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim 4:40:15, אשרי האיש, volume 1, chapters 20 and 30, שות תשובות והנהגות 2:58, שות אבן ישראל  8,9. Also see שות תשובות והנהגות  1:81 and 2:58.

[4] As we say in Tefilas Geshem לברכה ולא לקללה, for blessing and not for curse. See Minhag Yisrael Torah, 1, p. 210. Also שות חמדת שאול, 19, s.v. אחדשהט.

[5] Shemos 21:31.

[6] There are exceptions to all of this.

[7] Shemos 17:16. Tzefanya 1:4. Malachi 3:23.

[8] Tamuz Av 2:8 s.v. והנה כעת.

[9] Tehillim 45:14.

Writer of the weekly Fascinating Insights Torah sheet in Englishעברית ,אידיש and français

Author of Four Books including the recently released “Amazing Shabbos Insights”

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