Just one Parshah ago – Bereishit – we saw God creating the entire world from nothing. We cannot know why, but it was the wish of the Creator to have a physical world in which to manifest Himself. Here, He would allow an infinite array of physical beings to inhabit His physical creation, enjoying the benefits He had created for it. In fact, it seems, this was His deepest wish. He wanted a physical world – a lowly place for a Being infinitely above even the highest of spiritual beings possible. His ultimate desire, that they should make for themselves a dwelling place below for this Being! Then – just as fast as it all began, the entire world would be destroyed – just one Parshah later! What happened that caused God to so drastically “change His mind” about the Creation He had made?
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As the festival of Sukkot approaches, let us remember the beautiful teaching regarding the essence of this festival.
The Torah teaches, “And you should take for yourselves on the first day (of Sukkot) the fruit from the Hadar tree (Etrog), date palms (a palm branch), a branch of a braided tree (three myrtles), and willows of the brook (two branches from the willow tree), and you should rejoice before Hashem your God” (Leviticus 23:40).
In the heart of the holy city of Jerusalem, there sits an elderly Torah Sage teaching Kabbalah – the mystical texts and understanding of the Torah – to a large group of Torah scholars. The name of this great Sage, beloved and respected worldwide by all segments of the Torah community, is Rabbi Yechiel Fischel Eizenbach shlitah, the Rosh HaYeshivah (Dean) of the renowned Torah academy Sha’ar HaShamaim.
ZOHAR PARSHAT VAYAKHEL Daf 199a
Matok Midvash pp. 230-232
Translation and notes: Rabbi Eliyahu Shear
YONAH ENTERS THE GIANT FISH
THE SOUL ENTERING THE BODY
[On Yom Kippur we read the story of the Prophet Jonah. He is commanded by G-d to inform the people of the city of Ninveh to repent. Not wanting to obey G-d’s command, Jonah takes a ship to Tarshish, and while in the middle of the journey, leaps off the ship he is on, into the sea where he is swallowed by a giant fish (whale.) In fact, as this Zohar points out in a discourse over many pages, “Jonah” is the soul of every Jew that is placed into the body. The story of Jonah is actually the story of every Jew’s entire life, until death… and even onwards…]
[The Zohar begins its commentary on a passage from Deuteronomy, chapter 32 vv 3-5. This is the song that Moses sang to the Jewish people just before he died, bringing heaven and earth to act as witnesses to the calamities that will befall the Jewish people if they sin, and the ultimate reward that awaits them at the final redemption. The language of verse 3 is not clear, since it speaks of calling out in the Name of G-d. When one calls, one usually calls directly to G-d Himself. Why the need to call ‘In the Name of G-d’? What do the extra words ‘In the Name of’ come to teach and add in understanding the process of calling to G-d?]
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I was really excited! I had had my first lesson! I now also had the money to pay for the lessons ahead. I saw good things ahead! It seems however, that it wasn’t to be… Within a week, my teacher had got sick. It looked like he wouldn’t be able to teach me. Unfortunately he was to leave this world from the disease. Not knowing how bad he was at the time, I still waited hoping that thing would improve, though they didn’t! It was a loss for all of us, as I look back and realise that had I only been able to complete my studies with him, I think I would already be writing successfully. In fact, I would have been writing within a couple of months tops! I know that it was definitely his joy to see the pupils he had made – and I am sure he would have felt proud at being responsible for turning me into a Sofer too.