Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Parshat Qedoshim: Intimate Love


This week's Parsha begins with G@d urging us to be holy in Sefer Va-yiqra/Leviticus 19:1-2:

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר. דַּבֵּר אֶל-כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם--קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ: כִּי קָדוֹשׁ, אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם.

Va-y’dabeyr Y_H_V_H el-Moshe Leymor: Dabeyr el-kol-adat b’nai-Yisra’el v’amarta aleyhem qedoshim tih’yu ki qadosh ani Ad@nai Eloqeykhem.

Which roughly translates (in my world) as: "And Y_H_V_H spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak to the entire community of the Children of Israel, & say to them: “Holy are you to be, for holy am I, Y_H_V_H, your G@d!”

You'll notice it's in the imperative...

Do you know the gematria of the word Qedoshim?
(ק) Quf = 100
(ד) Dalet = 4
(ש) Shin = 300
(י) Yud = 10
(מ) Mem = 40
equals a total of 454*

454 is the same gematria as “chotam” (feminine is Chotemet - חוֹתָם, חוֹתֶמֶת), meaning seal, signet, stamp, mark, imprint.

In Shir HaShirim/Song of Songs 8:6, where the voice of the woman insists to her lover:

...שִׂימֵנִי כַחוֹתָם עַל-לִבֶּךָ

Simeni kachotam al libekha…

"Stamp me like a seal in your heart …”

(siman = sign, mark, indication, also: to take shape, to be denoted, to stand out = סִימָן)

What do we call the wedding ceremony in Hebrew?

What does the Chatan, the groom, say to his Kallah, his bride, under the chupah, to make them married?
Harey et mequdeshet li, b’taba’at zo…

He says with this ring, you are consecrated to me – you are imprinted on me – you are holy to me!

The ring is the siman, the sign of the marriage and you know what? The word “siman” begins with the letter Samekh (ס)…which is shaped like a ring!

And the word “to me/mine”, li, is so powerful! In Sefer Sh'mot parshat Yitro/Exodus 19:5 it says -

וְעַתָּה, אִם-שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ בְּקֹלִי, וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם, אֶת-בְּרִיתִי--וִהְיִיתֶם לִי סְגֻלָּה מִכָּל-הָעַמִּים, כִּי-לִי כָּל-הָאָרֶץ.

Ve-atah im-shamo'a tish'mu b'qoli ush'martem et-b'riti vih'yitem li segulah mikal-ha'amim ki-li kal-ha'aretz.

"So now, if you will hearken, yes, hearken to My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be to Me a special-treasure from among all peoples. Indeed, all the earth is Mine:"

The place in the Torah where G@D says to us, "...vih'yitem li segulah..." - " shall be to Me a special-treasure..." - the Lamed and the Yud of "li" - "to Me", "for Me", "Mine" are occasionally written joined. This is extremely rare, as the scribes disagree on this practice.

Our tradition tells us that these two letters in this word are joined at this point in the Torah to show the closeness and intimacy that G@D wishes to share with us. Because if ANY other letters have negiyah (are touching) in a Sefer Torah, that entire Torah is pasul - unfit for use. But here?

You know what else the shoresh/root of Ch-T-M, chotam, means? To COMPLETE! This is the definition of holiness.

How close, intimate and exclusive these lovers must be to truly become one, to authentically experience marriage on every possible level. Just as the lover in the Shir passionately invites, “dedicate your Self to me”, so does G@d passionately invite us, “Dedicate your SELF to me.”

Same as the closeness we can achieve with G@d, only through love, and surrender of the ego. This is the only way to fully cleave our souls into one. Uniting with G@d through uniting with your spouse.
Becoming One with The ONE.

Just as spouses have a unique opportunity to unify with each other, so do we have the unique opportunity to unify with G@d.

Shabbat Shalom.

* Of the several methods traditionally used to calculate gematria, I chose Mispar Hechrachi, the normative or absolute numerical value of the twenty-two Sacred letters for the purposes of this article.

Based on article originally published May 2005 at Netivat Sofrut: Diary of a Soferet
Subsequently published on Facebook
Copyright A. Barclay

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