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Sunday, October 10, 2010

From N(o)ach to Nach(man)

This past Shabbos Parshas Noach/Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, I celebrated 500 months of life, beginning with Rosh Chodesh - or as a play on words - Chodesh HaRosh - the 501th month (Rosh is the Gematria of 501), being that this past Shabbos - Rosh Chodesh began my 501th month, which literally began with Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan - 1 Cheshvan. Yes, a new month - the month of Cheshvan that corresponds kabbalistically to the letter Noon, which begins and ends the names of Rabbeinu & Rebbe Nosson - to reflect on the ROSH B'nei Yisroel - Rabbeinu.

With this being said, I would like to start off my Dvar Torah on Parshas Noach, which is always read during the month of Cheshvan, with our ancestor Noach, who was named as such - Zeh Yenachaeminu "This one will give us rest", the word Yenachameniu consisting of the name Nachman in the midst of it - the first such time that Rabbeinu's name is spelled in the Torah.

We see that is was only at the ripe age of 500 years that Noach - the ancestor of all human beings today, first became a father. And speaking of the magic number 500, the Gematria of Pru Urvu - the first Mitzvah of the Torah, first given to Adam, and then to Noach after the Mabul, is also the Gematria of 500. Thus, it was at the age of 500 that Hashem provided him with children who would be the ancestors of all living race today, in fulfillment of the Mitzvah and blessing that Hashem provided Noach, with the words that have the Gematria of 500.

In a spiritual sense, Rabbeinu Nachman came to complete the Tikkun that Noach stopped short at, both by not pleading to Hashem for his generation to be saved and by getting drunk with wine as a result of being depressed on the sad state of the world after the flood which resulted in preventing him from having more children. The name of Rabbeinu Nachman's main Talmid who wrote his teachings down was Nosson, which is also the Gematria of 500. And as Chazal tell us, one's Talmidim are called and considered one's children; as indeed, they are the spiritual chidren of the Tzadik & Talmid Chacham.

As a clincher to this, Rashi points out at the beginning words of Parshas Noach - Eileh Toldos Noach - "These are the generations of Noach", where he comments that it is the good deeds of a Tzadik that are one's children. Now, the question can be asked, why did Rashi mention this specifically by Noach? Certainly, there were Tzadikim greater than Noach after him, where it says for example - Eileh Toldos Yitzchok?

The reason given for this is that since Noach indeed was the ancestor of all mankind, regardless of his exact level of righteousness, the fact that Rashi points out that it is the good deeds that are one's children specifically by Noach is a great Chiddush, especially for Noach being the world's ancestor, but that nevertheless, the Torah tells us that Noach's biggest accomplishment was his good deeds. The only reason why Hashem's blessing of him having children was significant is because there would be future Tzadikim descended from him who would also do good deeds; otherwise, having children, would not be what you would call a blessing if it doesn't serve Hashem's desired end result.

And so in our case, Hashem hints to Rabbeinu & Rebbe Nosson through Noach starting to have children at the age of 500 years, as Rabbeinu Nachman whose name is an enlarged version of Noach's name, had a Talmid & Chosid who name Nosson is the Gematria of 500 who was responsible for the spreading of Breslov Chasidus through writing Rabbeinu's teachings, as Rabbeinu himself testified that if it weren't for Rebbe Nosson, there wouldn't be any teachings of his around. And as mentioned in their teachings, today's Mabul is the flood of Apikorsus as we saw very unfortunately with the Enlightment movement in Europe.

Today, bringing Jews back to their heritage, some of whom are descendants of those who strayed from the right path as a result of the heresies of the Enlightment movement, is thanks to Breslov Chasidus, filling the world once again with true spirituality which is according to the Torah. Indeed, besides Rabbeinu Nachman's own physical children and descendants, many of whom are living today both physically and spiritually, Rabbeinu's ultimate children are his spiritual children, beginning with his own students, most notably Rebbe Nosson, and the followers of his path, including the ones brought back to the fold of Judaism through his teachings and writings, through the Man (manna) - spiritual food of Rabbeinu Nachman, echoing the food that Noach fed to the inhabitants of Noah's Ark for a year, and the manna that the Jews ate in the desert for 40 years in the merit of Moshe Rabbeinu.

The 360 degree turn has been made for many Jews - from Bible stories such as the Flood that the Enlightment movement used to have Jewish children from observant Jewish homes to mock authentic Judaism - to the fulfillment of these very "Bible stories" of some of their descendants coming back to the fold to Judaism being saved from the spiritual flood through Rabbeinu Nachman & Rebbe Nosson, as hinted in the very story of the Flood.

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