Adapted from Meta Parshiyot 5755 by R David Wolfe-Blank, Living Torah by Aryeh Kaplan, and Sefer Bnay Yisaskhar Elul
RE-AY COUNT IN S’FIRAH CYCLE IS SH’KHINAH IN YESOD
This Torah portion deals with ceremonial laws, different from civil or social law. It includes laws dealing with sacrifices, the sanctuary, avoiding strange worship and misleading prophets, sabbatical year observance, and pilgrimage festivals.
The first sentence of Re-ay uses a double clause covenant – listen to the covenant, blessings will abound, but if you don’t, curses will manifest. It starts with “See” and then points to “listen.” There is a thread connecting to Sinai when all the people “saw the sounds.”.
When people entered the land, there was to be a dramatic ceremony in which half the people stood on one mountain and half on the other and sequentially called out “amein” as blessings and curses were recited from the Torah.
The Torah portion in the S’firah cycle – Sh’khinah (Malkhut) IN YESOD, GROUNDING IN FOUNDATION
The completion of the cycle of seven relating to Yesod indicates that not only has the development of the S’firot, as a whole this year, has been completed and the foundations for communication are established. This means that channels leading to complete fulfillment of this year‘s Divine seeds have been processed and ready to be planted into the universe and become a foundation for our next evolution.
In the Torah portion, Moshe Rabaynu lays out a formula for integrating the high teachings into familiar life events. This Torah portion has to do with intimate (Yesod) aspects of communal life (Uesod). Yesod requires refinement to provide Presence (Sh’khinah). This connection through Sh’khinah of Yesod. Through this system, the experience of 40 desert years will provide a thread to instill holiness in landed life.
THIS SHABBAT and THE FOLLOWING DAY MARK ROSH HODESH (THE NEW MOON OF) ELUL.
THE LETTER YUD WAS TIED TO KETER, AND THROUGH IT, VIRGO WAS FORMED IN SPACE, ELUL IN TIME, AND THE LEFT KIDNEY INSOUL.
SEFER YETZIRAH 5:2
HASSIDIC WISDOM FROM B’NAY YISASKHAR ADAPTED TO HONOR ROSH HODESH ELUL
Bnay YisasKhar on Elul 1:3 Tzvi Elimelekh of Dinov
“Matzah Eesha, Matzah Tov v’yafek ratzon m’Hashem” – ‘Find a woman, find goodness and bring forward Havayah’s desire’ (Proverbs 19:22), when referenced together with “Ayn Mikreh Yotzah Myedat P’shutoh” –, a verse does not depart from its literal meaning’ (Shabbat 63a) hints at the essence of Elul. These hints illuminate and explain the potency of the month of Elul. Using these teachings, we can fully rest and resonate with this aspect and be a part of this blessing, may it be The Will.
EYT RATZON AND DIVINE DESIRE
The days of Elul are a time of “Eyt Ratzon” – a time of Willingness when the Divine Desire is particularly ready and willing to be accessed.
The New Moon of Elul corresponds to when Moshe ascended Mt Sinai to receive the Final Luhot haBreet (Tablets of the Covenant). At that time, The Holy One of Blessing longed for Yisrael and forgave them (for the event concerning the golden calf) with great joy.
Since then, these days of Elul were established as an Eyt Ratzon, Time of Desire. They are meant to arouse Yisrael people to turn them to T’shuvah; re-turn to Source. “The Holy One’s right arm is open” to receive those who wish to return to resonance.
Since the time the first human ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, every person holds qualities of both good and evil.
Since negativity has an inherent tendency to amplify and increase, especially when left unchecked, it can be confused and experienced as sound action or thought. Resulting in blurring lines of discernment.
(Consider the person who sets out to work and earn a living for her family. At first it is about family. Over time, benefits may be offered that encourage time away from home. Ego and desire for material aspects may set in and dominate choices. The work, then, can mesmerize and diminishe time with family, which it was meant to protect.)
when the High Desire is aroused true good becomes known
But, when the High Desire is aroused, The Holy Blessed One wishes to awaken the souls of Yisrael to T’shuvah, and genuine good becomes known. They regret their mistakes, turn away from the bad, and draw Knowledge (Gnosis) from the Heavenly Desire (Will) into their life. Then, their T’shuvah is received fully.
This is what is hinted at, “Matzah eeShah”; Find a woman… when the days of Elul; whose constellation is a woman – the sign of Betoolah; Virgo, the maiden, then, “Matzah Tov“; you will orient to goodness organically, and the ability to discern good from the bad is readily available. ” Vayafak ratzon Havayah“ and then the Will of Havayah is drawn forth”… – a sense of a good path become evident.
NOT A THREAT, RATHER A CONSEQUENCE
The first sentence of this Torah portion uses a double clause covenant – if you keep this covenant, you will be blessed, but your will be cursed if you do not. I used to hear this as a threat, ‘Behave yourselves or else be cursed”. Not anymore. It is not a threat but a consequence of human action. Either resonance and harmony are created or dissonance.
The Holy One of Blessing is The CreatED eARTH
The Creator of All established the Cosmos – local and distant, Earth and her seasons and unique space-time continuum. The dominant way Presence is known on Earth is through the Space-Time continuum. Earth orbits on her axis every 24 hours, Moon orbits Earth approximately every 27 Earth days, and Earth orbits Sun about every 365 days. These aspects control weather patterns. Earth patterns are a direct result of these movements; day and night, full moon and new moon, solstice, and equinox. Consider the patterns of the morning’s freshness, the full moon’s celebratory energy, or the way people tend to go ecstatic around the Summer solstice when the days are long. Changes in climate and length of days impact the human psyche. Most often these everyday brilliant miracles are forgotten as people go about their lives.
When we take care of Earth,then blessings result
When we take care of Earth, are responsible citizens of the planet, clean up after ourselves, and use items that can reenter Earth’s biosystem through composting, blessings result. If we are careless and cause harm by creating landfills, oil spills into the great oceans, air pollution from fossil fuel, unneeded burning, plastics, nuclear waste, etc., life will not be good. Sadly, humanity has been going down this not-good path.
Torah laws are here to demonstrate and establish patterns to support a joy-filled, productive, sustainable life. It emphasizes that we are part of something bigger and have a role to play.
Patterns shift, and personal needs change. Over time they can unintentionally result in negative behavior that moves away from God’s gifts and graciousness. It is essential to make an annual practice of checking in with our inner compass. Are we helping, or harming? How can we adjust our behavior to be better Jews, people, and earthlings. This is the work of Elul.
cycles of time hold potent imprints of events that have transpired before
Cycles of time hold potent imprints of events that have transpired before, and the energies become available year after year. We can find and make use of them. Luckily, the Bnay Yisaskhar makes nuances of these imprints known in his Sefer. They make sense regarding the seasons and their energetic biases and are easy to track.
It was Rosh Hodesh Elul when the Holy One again desired Yisrael and wanted the people back. It was, therefore, the day Moshe ascended the mountain to complete the final Luhot (Tablets). He remained there for 40 days eating no food nor drinking water. He came down from the mountain on Yom Kippur with the new tablets. This meant a new life for the Yisrael community. These Luhot were like Ketubah, and the wedding between the Holy One of Blessing and the Yisrael community was on!
the month of Elul is an Eyt Ratzon – time of (divine) desire
As the New moon of Elul is upon us, these imprints arouse the community. The entire month of Elul is an Eyt Ratzon. The Sovereign of All is in the field, the right hand extended, as it were, accessible, reaching out with love.
Blessings for a joyful and nourishing return to Source.