Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Behind the Scenes in Megillat Eicha

It's been a while since I discussed hidden allusions (remazim) in the scriptures. Actually, the first time I discussed it was almost a full year ago when I "exposed" some hidden treasures in Parshat V'Eschanan - this week's Parsha (click HERE to see the post.)

Now that Tisha B'Av is at our door (let us hope that we don't have to let it in) I want to share some very enlightening remazim. Again, these codes come from Sefer Niflaos M'Torasecha from Rabbi Mordechai Nachman Aronovsky, ShLiT"A.

1. 9th of Av (ט באב )

The sequence of letters ט באב appears as a Roshei Teivos one time in all of Tanach (zero times as Sofei Teivos) and it in this pasuk in Sefer Ezra (6:3):

 עזרא פרק ו ג
ג בִּשְׁנַת חֲדָה לְכוֹרֶשׁ מַלְכָּא כּוֹרֶשׁ מַלְכָּא שָׂם טְעֵם בֵּית-אֱלָהָא בִירוּשְׁלֶם בַּיְתָא יִתְבְּנֵא אֲתַר דִּי-דָבְחִין דִּבְחִין וְאֻשּׁוֹהִי מְסוֹבְלִין רוּמֵהּ אַמִּין שִׁתִּין פְּתָיֵהּ אַמִּין שִׁתִּין

In the first year of the rule of King Koresh (Cyrus), King Koresh put an edict: The House of G-d Shall be built in Jerusalem in the place that...

Rabbi Aronovsky writes that here we find an allusion to the date of the destruction in the verse that talks about the construction of the second Bais HaMikdash! He notes that it is brought in Yalkut Shimoni (61) that Koresh the Mede cried and groaned over the destruction of the Temple by Nevuchadnetzer which occurred on 9th of Av and as a reward for this, he was granted the privilege of building the second one.

2. Sinat Chinam

There seems to be a clear allusion from the very first words of Eichah that the second Bayis was destroyed due to Sinat Chinam. This is because the Roshei Teivos of the first seven words of Eicha spell out the words Eivah Ra'ah (איבה רעה ) - terrible hostility.

איכה פרק א א
פרק א
א אֵיכָה ישבה בָדָד העִיר רַבָּתִי עם הָיְתָה כְּאַלְמָנָה רַבָּתִי בַגּוֹיִם שָׂרָתִי בַּמְּדִינוֹת הָיְתָה לָמַס:

This code comes from Baal HaRokeach in Devarim 6:5 and he understands it to mean the hostility between Eisav (the Romans who destroyed the Temple) and Yaakov (the Jews who built it) as the pasuk says:
וַיִּשְׂטֹם עֵשָׂו אֶת-יַעֲקֹב

Rabbi Aronovsky adds that this code is also mentioned in Zohar (Midrash Ne'elam Eicha) and the Eivah refers to the Eivah of man toward the first snake (Nachash HaKadmon) who is the Yetzer HaRa as the pasuk says:
וְאֵיבָה אָשִׁית בֵּינְךָ וּבֵין הָאִשָּׁה וּבֵין זַרְעֲךָ וּבֵין זַרְעָהּ

3. Bari - Healthy

There are 2 occurrences in Tanach of the word בריא in Roshei Teivos. There is only one occurrence in Sofei Teivos in all of Tanach and it is found in this pasuk:
איכה פרק ג כז
כז טוֹב לַגֶּבֶר כִּי-יִשָּׂא עֹל בִּנְעוּרָיו:

This seems to indicate that a person must take upon himself the yoke of Mitzvos when he is in his youth (בנעוריו ) and is healthy, and not put it off until his older years when his health is not at its prime.

4. Sama'el(סמאל)

Sama'el is another name for the Angel of Death - the Malach HaMaves. The Malach HaMaves is ruthless and emotionless. When he is looking for customers he does not play favorites and he does not take pity.

Thus it is amazing that there is only one occurrenc of the word Sama'el as a Sofei Teivos in all of Tanach (there is one occurrence as Roshei Teivos, as well) and it is in this pasuk (Yirmiyah 21:6-7):

ו וְהִכֵּיתִי אֶת-יוֹשְׁבֵי הָעִיר הַזֹּאת וְאֶת-הָאָדָם וְאֶת-הַבְּהֵמָה בְּדֶבֶר גָּדוֹל יָמֻתוּ: ז וְאַחֲרֵי-כֵן נְאֻם  
ה' אֶתֵּן אֶת-צִדְקִיָּהוּ מֶלֶךְ-יְהוּדָה וְאֶת-עֲבָדָיו וְאֶת-הָעָם וְאֶת-הַנִּשְׁאָרִים- בָּעִיר הַזֹּאת מִן-הַדֶּבֶר מִן-הַחֶרֶב וּמִן-הָרָעָב בְּיַד נְבוּכַדְרֶאצַּר מֶלֶךְ-בָּבֶל וּבְיַד אֹיְבֵיהֶם וּבְיַד מְבַקְשֵׁי נַפְשָׁם וְהִכָּם לְפִי-חֶרֶב לֹא-יָחוּס עֲלֵיהֶמ וְלֹא יַחְמֹל וְלֹא יְרַחֵם

It is amazing that this pasuk which talks all about every type of horrible death (plague, hunger, and sword) and the word Sama'el is encoded right where it says "he will have no mercy" (3 different ways). Note that the two terms it crosses are לא יחוס and לא יחמל.

Now what is amazing is that we find the term Sama'el in two other places in Tanach a bit scrambled but in one case it crosses the term לא יחוס and in the other it crosses the term לא יחמל.

The first occurrence is in Yeshaya 13:18:

ישעיה פרק יג יח
יח וּקְשָׁתוֹת נְעָרִים תְּרַטַּשְׁנָה וּפְרִי-בֶטֶן לֹא יְרַחֵמוּ עַל-בָּנִימ לֹא-תָחוּס עֵינָם:

So here, Sama'el is a bit out of order but it is there and it covers the term לא תחוס .

The second occurrence is here with us in Eicha 2:17:

אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה מִימֵי-קֶדֶמ הָרַס וְלֹא חָמָל

So, here it is again out of order and it covers the term לא חמל .

5. 4-Letter Name of G-d

There is a large segment in Niflaos M'Torasecha that deals with the occurrences of the 4-letter Name in consecutive Roshei Teivos and consecutive Sofei Teivos throughout Tanach. But here is a very interesting variation that he quotes from the Maharash from Ostropola in his sefer Likutei Shoshana on Eicha 1:10. The twist here is that it is almost in consecutive Sofei Teivos but not quite.

Here is the code (Eicha 1:10):

איכה פרק א י
י יָדוֹ פָּרַשׂ צָר עַל כָּל-מַחֲמַדֶּיהָ כִּי-רָאֲתָה גוֹיִם בָּאו מִקְדָּשׁה אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָה לֹא-יָבֹאוּ בַקָּהָל לָךְ:

We-e-ll, it looks like we almost have the 4 letter name in consecutive Sofei Teivos except that the goyim have to come in and interfere!

The Maharash from Ostropola explains that the Makom HaMikdash was the place of השראת השכינה which means that the Name of G-d rests upon it. But, you remember our uncle Eisav and his einikle Amalek? Well, he kind of breaks the Name of Hashem apart as it says in Shmos 17:16:

כי יד על כס י-ה מלחמה לה בעמלק

And that is exactly what is happening in Eicha 1:10!

And it is our job to restore it - in every generation.

May we be zocheh to restore the Name of G-d speedily in our days!

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