Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Blog in Hebrew

I've put up a separate blog with some of the summary posts from this blog translated in to Hebrew.

Here's the link.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Return of Prophecy from Chayei Ha'Avot

(As an extension of this group of posts.)

According to the chronologies that we have, with their precision and imprecision, we can establish the following:

  • Yitzchak's Tefillah to Hashem for children (and Rivkah's subsequent revelation) was when Yitzchak was between 59 and 60 years old. (Breishit 25)
  • Yaakov's encounter at Beit El, when he was 63 years old. (Breishit 28)
  • Avraham was told to move to Eretz Yisrael, some say that this command was given before he left Ur Kasdim, others say that it was when he was in Charan.
  • Hashem's promise to Yitzchak on his way to Gerar, when he was at least 75 years old. (Breishit 26, if the prior parshah with mechirat habechorah was was Yitzchak was 75, when Avraham passed away, then this, by smichut haparshiot, is afterwards)
We see that all of these came from times of trouble.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's Also About the Tekufah

Birkat HaChamah is when the Tekufat Nissan moment falls in the beginning of the night on the 4th day of the week.

In the year of Yetziat Mitzraim (2449), Tekufat Nissan fell on the first hour of Thursday, which is when Yetziat Mitzraim took place.  I don't have a method handy to check if that was the middle of the lunar month to actually be the 15th of Nissan.

  • In the year of Binyan Bayit Rishon (2929), Tekufat Nissan fell on the first hour of Tuesday.
  • In the year of Nes Purim (or perhaps the year before), Tekufat Nissan was also on the first hour of Tuesday.
  • In the year of Binyan and Churban Bayit Sheini (3409 and 3829 respectively), Tekufat Nissan fell on the first hour of Sunday (and our tradition likewise states that the Churban was on a Saturday night).
Anyone that wishes to take a look can set up an Excel spreadsheet with the following formulas:
  • Column A start at 1 and A2=A1+1, etc.
  • Column B starts at 73 (Tekufat Nissan at the 73rd hour of the week is the beginning of Tuesday night).  Subsequent cells should be as follows: B2=MOD(B1+30,168), because each year, the Tekufah is 30 hours later, and the week has a total of 168 hours.
  • Column C starts at 1.  Subsequent cells should be as follows: C2=If(C1=4,1,C1+1), so that will give you a count to 4, where if the row = 1, the Tekufah is the beginning of the night.
The Tekufah moment for 5727 and 5783 is identical, since they are a multiple of 28 years apart.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Reflection on the Elections

It did not occur to me until today.

In order to break free of the Outer Klipah of the Left, we must pull away from our orientation to the Klipah's influence.  I had thought that this would entail a shift in our own leadership, in what would be defined by todays standard as a rightward shift, a strengthening of the "pro-Eretz Yisrael" forces in Israel, in the Knesset or outside of it.  What did not occur to me, however, is that this break will become more pronounced by a leftward shift in the leadership of the West, which took place today.

For review, see here in general, and here in particular.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rebbi Abahu's Calculation

At the end of Yerushalmi Sukkah, there is a puzzling Gemara.  There is a discussion regarding the 24 watches of Kohanim.  Every week, the work in the Beit HaMikdash was taken care of by one watch.  The watch of Bilgah is treated negatively, for reasons stated in the Gemara.  The question arises, why not mix Bilgah in with another watch?  And then it is asked, why not just eliminate the watch altogether and leave it with just 23 watches?

We can't do that, as it is written "They were established by David and Shmuel the seer, with their faith" (Divrei HaYamim 1 chapter 9)  Great skill (a slight change to the word for faith) is here, that one watch does not take and take again from the Ancestral Field until the others take.  Rebbi Abahu said: I calculated them and one watch does not take and take again from the Ancestral Field until the others take.
The basic idea with the Ancestral Fields is that if a person sanctifies his field, he has until the Yovel year to redeem it.  If he does not, then the watch which serves at the time that the Yovel begins receives that field.  Therefore, there are mefarshim that say that this means that over 24 Yovel cycles, each watch will serve exactly once at the beginning of the Yovel.

The problem with that is obvious: Yovel was never observed for 1200 consecutive years (50 * 24), so what is the great skill used?

The P'nei Moshe says that in the Yovel year, during the first 48 weeks, the fields which were sanctified throughout the 48 years of the Yovel cycle (the years in which people sanctify their fields, since for the most part this is not done in the 49th year) are given out in that order.  If so, why would Rebbi Abahu have to say that he did any calculations?

Comments and speculation are welcome.