For the past twenty-six years, I have had the privilege to dispense Torah ideas through the Shabbat Shalom Message. This week we complete our twenty-sixth cycle of messages!
I consider it an enormous merit and responsibility to provide and share Torah ideas, information and inspiration to the many readers who come from a varied background of Judaism. Torah is unique and beautiful because it is so multi-faceted. Every Jew can relate to and appreciate a Torah idea or concept on his own level.
My heartfelt thanks to my wife Malki for all her encouragement and support, and to the editors, Rabbi Shmuel Flam and Mrs. Madeleine Jacobs for their superb job!
To the readership; thank you for your comments, encouragement, critique and support. It is greatly appreciated!
Thank you Hashem for everything! Dovid
Gematrios – the numerical values of Hebrew letters and words – play a vital and prominent role in understanding and finding meaning in Judaism. Since we are completing the 26th cycle of the Shabbat Message, I feel it appropriate to focus on the number 26.
In this week’s Parsha, the Torah relates the sinful and embarrassing incident of the creation of the golden calf – where some of the Jews participated in its worship. Because of this offense towards G-d, G-d wanted to destroy the entire nation and build a new nation from Moshe. Moshe wouldn’t hear of it and pleaded with G-d and defended the Jewish people. G-d listened to Moshe’s pleas to spare the Jews and along with the repentance of the Jews He forgave them and replaced the shattered tablets with a second set of the Ten Commandments.
The Torah relates that G-d expressed to Moshe His thirteen attributes, that when they would be expressed they would evoke His mercy in any time of need. The first two attributes are: Hashem, Hashem – G-d’s name of Ado-noy, twice. G-d’s name is mentioned twice because G-d has mercy before a person sins and after a person sins.
The way the name of G-d is written in the Torah is not the way we pronounce G-d’s name – Ado-noy. Rather it is written in a concealed form, using the four letters, Yud, Hey, Vuv and Hey. The numerical equivalent of these letters is 26. Thus 26, has an association with G-d’s name.
With this I wish to express that it has been a great privilege to provide Divrei Torah over the past 26 years as a way to promote and expose the Majesty of G-d through the gift he gave to us, the holy Torah! I pray that He gives me the ability to continue for many more years.
I came across a beautiful idea in connection to the number 26 that relates to this week’s portion. The Parsha speaks of the holy day of Shabbos and the three festivals of the year.
During the Shabbos when we recite the Amidah prayers, one might notice that the centerpiece of each of the four prayers starts differently. Each prayer brings out its own uniqueness of how the prayer and its sequence relates to the Shabbos.
On Shabbos, the Mincha – afternoon – prayer includes the verse, “And who is like Your nation Israel, one – a unique nation upon the earth.” The word one in Hebrew is Echad. The numerical value of Echad is 13. There is a familiar declaration that we recite at least twice daily and that is the Shema Yisroel where we proclaim the oneness of G-d. The Shema verse ends with Echad – 13. The two Echad’s, one referring to G-d, and the other referring to the Jewish people, combined, equals 26. This means that there is an intimate bond between G-d and nation of Israel especially, during the holy day of Shabbos. In the Shacharis – morning – Amidah we mention that Shabbos was given specifically to the Jewish nation to the exclusion of others. Shabbos is when we are Echad with G-d!
The Talmud relates that before Moshe let go of the tablets to smash them at the foot of the mountain, the letters that G-d engraved in the tablets flew up to heaven and only then did the physical matter of the tablets shatter.
There is a fascinating Medrash that relates, that there was one statement engraved on the tablets that remained intact and that was – “Remember the Holy day of Shabbos to sanctify it.”
Commentators explain that this may be because the Jews had already been given the Shabbos prior to G-d’s Revelation. The Talmud also tells us that if one observes the Shabbos, no matter how far he may have strayed from G-d – even if he commits idolatry – G-d forgives him. Why? Because Shabbos is testimony that the Jews are One with G-d!
Each Shabbos every Jew has the unique privilege to access this great gift!