Saturday, October 24, 2009

Receiving Revelations - Avraham Avinu

Parshat Lech Lecha teaches us about two different ways that one can receive a revelation from Hashem.

  1. At the beginning of the parsha, Hashem tells Avraham to go to the Land of Canaan.  According to Ibn Ezra, this was while Avraham was still in Ur Kasdim.  If so, this revelation would be as a result of the mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem done when Nimrod threw Avraham in to the Kivshan.  Ramban rejects this and says that Avraham received the mitzvah in Charan.  Therefore it would seem that this revelation was a sort of Awakening from Above, that a certain Keitz had arrived.
  2. Avraham receives a revelation upon arriving in the Land, fulfillment of the mitzvah of Yishuv haAretz.
  3. After Avraham convinces Lot to move away from him, Hashem is revealed again.  Revelation following mitzvah.
  4. Brit Bein haBetarim came after Avraham refused to take payment from the King of Sdom, another Kiddush Hashem.
  5. Brit Milah came at least 13 years later, and would therefore seem to come when it did due to a Keitz.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ramban on Six Days

This is a translation of Ramban to Breishit 2:4, which can be found here.

And know, that it is also included in the word "to do", that the 6 days of Creation are all the days of the world, for its existence will be 6000 years (Rosh Hashanah 31a), that accordingly they said (Breishit Rabba 19:8): A day of HaKadosh Baruch Hu is 1000 years.  And behold in the first two days, the world was all water, and nothing was completed in them, and this is a hint at the first 2000 years, that there was none that called in the name of Hashem, and thus they said (Avoda Zara 9a): Two thousand years of chaos.  But on the first day, light was created, hinting at the [nearly] thousand years of Adam haRishon who was the light of the world who recognized his Creator.  And perhaps Enosh did not begin with his idolatry until Adam haRishon died.

On the second day "let there be a firmament, and it will be a separation", that in it (the second millennium), Noach and his sons, the righteous, were separated from the wicked, who were judged with water.

On the third day, land appeared, and it sprouted and made fruit.  This is the third millennium, which began when Avraham was 48 years old [it seems that this is an error, and should be 52] (Breishit Rabba 64:4), and then he began to call in the name of Hashem, and he sprouted a righteous branch, for he brought many to know Hashem, like they have explained "and the soul that he did in Charan" (Breishit 12:5).  And he commanded his house and his children after him to observe the way of Hashem to do righteousness and justic, and the matter went up until his descendants received the Torah at Sinai, and the Beit haMikdash was built on this day, and then all of the mitzvot, which are the fruit of the world, were observed.  And know, that from the time of "Bein haShemashot" can be counted to the next day, and therefore the matter of a certain day will start a bit prior, like when Avraham was born in the second millennium, and you will see this on every day.

And on the fourth day, the luminaries were created, the great one and the small one, and the stars.  This day hints at the fourth millennium, which began 72 years after the first Beit haMikdash was built, until 172 years after the second Beit haMikdash.  And behold on this day there was light for all of B'nei Yisrael, for the glory of Hashem filled the House of Hashem, and the light of Israel was for a fire on the altar, lurching like a lion, eating the offerings, and afterwards their light became smaller and they were exiled, like the light going away at the time of the Molad of the moon, and it (the moon) shined for them all the days of the second Beit haMikdash, and the fire on the altar lurched like a dog, and then the two luminaries set towards the evening, and the House was destroyed.

On the fifth day, the water put forth living animals, and birds flew upon the ground.  This is a hint at the fifth millennium, beginning 172 years after the destruction of the Beit haMikdash, for thus is the metaphor for the nations, (I'll leave this part untranslated, I don't know how to do it justice)
ויעשה אדם כדגי הים, כרמש לא מושל בו, כלו בחכה העלה, יגורהו בחרמו ויאספהו במכמרתו, ואין דורש אתה

On the sixth day, in the morning, "let the land bring out animals and beasts by their types, and crawly beings by their types", and their creation was before the shining of the sun, like was is written (Tehillim 104:22) "The sun rises, and they gather away, and hide in their dens", and then Adam was created in the image of G-d, and this is the time of his governance, as it is said (Tehillim 104:23): "Let Adam to out to his work, and his labor until evening", this is the sixth millennium, for at the beginning the beasts are in control, they are the kingdoms that don't know Hashem.  And after one tenth, like the amount of haneitz hachamah in relation to a day (Pesachim 94a), the redeemer will come, as it is said about him (Tehillim 89:37) "His chair is like the sun to me", that is the son of David who is made in the image of G-d, as it says (Daniel 7:13-14) "And he comes with the clouds of heaven as a man comes, and to the Ancient of Days he arrives, and he is brought close to him, and to him the government, honor, and kingdom is given", and this will be 118 years after the fifth millennium, to the finishing of the word of Hashem from Daniel (Daniel 12:11-12) "And from the time of the cessation of the continual offering, and to the giving of the desolate abomination, 1290 days."  And it appears from the change of the days, from the creatures of the sea and the birds, to the animals of the land, that at the beginning of the sixth millennium, the kingdom (of Israel) will be renewed, and be exceedingly strong, and come closer to the truth than those that preceded it.

The seventh day is Shabbat, a hint at Olam haBa, which is all Shabbat and rest for eternity.  And G-d should protect us on all the days, and put our place with his simple servants.