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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Siyum of Maseches Berachos on Rabbeinu's 202th Yarhzeit

Meant to have written this like a month ago when the Siyum of Maseches Berachos in Daf Yomi "coincided" with the 202th Yahrzeit of Rabbeinu, but now, I have more time.  Of course, we don't want to say literally that we are making a Siyum (literally means end) on Berachos (blessings), Chas V'Chalila, also bearing in mind that this is the very first Masechta of the Talmud.  This is perhaps why the concept of saying Hadran Alach "We will return to you", the statement that we declare three times immediately upon concluding any given Masechta of Gemara or one of the Shisha Sedarim of Mishna, began, to show that while we may have physically concluded the learning of a Masechta, we intend to learn it once again, so in fact, we never really end the learning of a piece of Torah.

With this, I want to make a public Siyum of the first Masechta of Shas that I learned, which began, as the beginning of the 13th cycle of Daf Yomi, on one of the greatest days of Simcha on the Jewish calendar - Tu B'Av, on which various happy events happened to Bnei Yisroel.  But the highlight of Tu B'Av in practical terms is increasing our Torah learning at night beginning on this very date; hence, enhancing this 13th cycle of Daf Yomi.  And speaking of 13, Rabbeinu's name, in Mispar Koton, is 13, like this: Nachman=148, hence, 1+4+8=13, bearing in mind that his father's name was Simcha.  Now, while this public Siyum of the first Masechta of the 13th cycle of Daf Yomi that I will be making here is via writing, this is bearing in mind that on the Siyum of Moshe Rabbeinu's life on his final day, he wrote 13 Sifei Torah, and writing Torah is akin of the 613th and final Mitzva of the Torah which is writing a Sefer Torah (Today, according to Poskim, this is fulfilled primarily by buying and learning Seforim).

Now, the number 202 in Hebrew is very significant, as it spells the word Rav, loosely translated as rabbi, though not the only such word in Hebrew with this meaning.  But in every day conversation, it also means much, or as related to the word increase.  Being that last month's 202th Yarhzeit of Rabbeinu on 18 Tishrei (4th day of Succos) was also the same day as the worldwide Siyum of Maseches Berachos, thinking of the words Rav and Berachos, I checked for places in the Tanach where the phrase Rav Berachos could possibly be written - and sure enough, there is exactly one place in the entire Tanach where this is written (Mishlei 28:20) - Ish Emunos RAV BERACHOS  "A faithful man WILL INCREASE BLESSINGS".  So in fact, instead of "ending" blessings, we are increasing blessings both by our Limud HaTorah and our faith in the Tzadikim, particularly in the Tzadik Yesod Olam.  And by the way, the word Emunos - faithful, is quite similar to the name Uman, the city in which he not only was buried in, but also passed away in.

Now, one who has learned some Gemara, will know that one of the more popular Amoraim is known as Rav, and that there are quite a few different rabbis with the name...Rav Nachman.  In fact, one of them is known as Rav Nachman Bar Yitzchak, and very interestingly, Rabbeinu was named after his paternal grandfather who was also Nachman the son of Yitzchok, a follower of the Ba'al Shem Tov, who in turn is the great-grandfather of Rabbeinu.

With this, I will proceed to making my public Siyum.  However, while it is normally customary to have the Siyum on the concluding section of the Gemoro or Seder Mishna, my Siyum will be on a section within this Masechta.  This can be found on Berachos 48b, in the midst of the seventh chapter which deals with Bircas HaMazon, as follows:

אמר רב נחמן: משה תקן לישראל ברכת הזן בשעה שירד להם מן. יהושע תקן להם ברכת הארץ כיון שנכנסו לארץ. דוד ושלמה תקנו בונה ירושלים - דוד תקן על ישראל עמך ועל ירושלים עירך, ושלמה תקן על הבית הגדול והקדוש. הטוב והמטיב ביבנה תקנוה כנגד הרוגי ביתר. דאמר רב המנונא: אותו היום שניתנו הרוגי ביתר לקבורה, תקנו ביבנה הטוב והמטיב. הטוב שלא הסריחו, והמטיב שניתנו לקבורה.

As you can see here, the name of Moshe Rabbeinu immediately follows Rav Nachman's name, and as we know, Rabbeinu Nachman's Yahrzeit is on the day of the Ushpiz of Moshe Rabbeinu.  So, it was none other than Rav Nachman in the Gemoro who recounted who composed which one of the four blessings of Bircas HaMazon.  Now, as he notes about Moshe, he composed the first one when the manna first came down for Bnei Yisroel.  And as you can see, the Hebrew for manna makes up the second half of the name Nachman!
Now, if you take a look at this 1st blessing, it begins with BEIS and ends with LAMED, the same way that the Chumash, which is known as the "Five Books of Moses" begins wtih BEIS and ends with LAMED.  Accordingly, Chumash is the same Gematria as Na Nach Nachma Nachman - 354, and Rabbeinu's name, when adding the numerical value of the letters of his name as 50,8,40,50 - when removing the zeros and putting the remaining numbers together, you have the number 5845, the exact amount of Pesukim of the Chumash!

Next at bat is Yehoshua, Moshe's Talmid Muvhak who took over the leadership of Bnei Yisroel, and led them to Eretz Yisroel, wasting no time composing the second blessing of Bircas HaMazon.  Now, if you take a look at this 2nd blessing, it begins with a NOON and ends with a NOON, just as the names of Rabbeinu and of his Talmud Muvhak - Rabbi Nosson Sternhartz - who in effect led the Breslov movement.  In effect, this 2nd blessing corresponds especially with Rabbi Nosson, and as we see hinted in the Posuk - the source of the Mitzva of Bircas HaMazon - that is recited at the end of this blessing - "You shall eat, be satisfied, and bless Hashem your G-d for the good land that HE GAVE you" - Asher NOSSAN Loch, in which the word in caps is spelled the same way in Hebrew as Rabbi Nosson's name.  Coincidence?

For the 3rd blessing that was composed by Dovid HaMelech and Shlomo HaMelech,  as connected to Rabbeinu, the very last Torah of Rabbeinus Likutei Moharan is about "finding oneself within each and every Mizmor of Tehillim" which was compiled by Dovid HaMelech, and the phrase Rav Berachos as related to Rabbeinu's 202th Yarhzeit on the same day as the Siyum of Maseches Berachos of Daf Yomi is found in Sefer Mishlei, which is composed by Shlomo HaMelech.  Moreover, the Rambam notes that Moshiach will be a descendant of both Dovid and Shlomo.  Similarly, Rabbeinu said that Moshiach will be a descendant of his, and the he accomplished this.

And finally, the 4th blessing was composed on the day that permission was granted by the evil Roman government to bury the Jewish dead of Beitar whom it murdered, who were found to be intact without decay and were buried at once.  This composition of the 4th and final blessing took place on the very date of Tu B'Av, the very date that the worldwide learning of the beginning of Maseches Berachos (and Shas) of the 13th cycle of Daf Yomi took place, of which its Siyum fell out on Rabbeinu's Yahrzeit.

Now, paralleling the four blessings of Bircas HaMazon to Na Nach Nachma Nachman (and "Meuman", which is tehcnically not part of the main Pashut Kaful Meshulash Meruba of Rabbeinu's name, seems to correspond to the post prayers that we recite following the 4th blessing), we see the following:

NA- This is essentially just the letter NOON, which is the numerical value of 50.  And as Chazal tell us about Moshe Rabbeinu, composer of the 1st blessing of Bircas HaMazon, he reached the 50th level of Bina - which is the Sephira of Breslov Chasidus as we see in Tikunei Zohar - Bina Liba U'Bah Halev Mevein "Understanding is the heart, and through it, the heart understands", as we see the connection of the word Lev ending the word Breslov and the year 5532 (Hei-Tav-Koof-Lamed-Beis) in which Rabbeinu was born - on the day of his passing; and as hinted in the name of the mountain on which Moshe was buried - Har Nevo: NOON Bo - "Fifty within it".

NACH-  As for the 2nd blessing, which begins and ends with a NOON as per what I wrote earlier, we learn, the Jews ate manna upon their entry into Eretz Yisroel through the first day of Pesach - and the name Pesach is the same Gematria as Rabbeinu's name - 148.  Hence, we already can combine the two parts of Rabbeinu's name as related to this 2nd blessing to make up his full name - which is hinted especially in this 2nd blessing which hints to Rabbeinu's Talmid Muvhak - Rabbi Nosson, as Rabbeinu attested, if it weren't for Rabbi Nosson, there would have been no writings of Rabbeinu that would have been available in this world, so in effect, it was Rabbi Nosson who saved the day, and in effect, completed Rabbeinu's mission of spreading his Torah teachings at that time, until Saba would come along some 100 years later with the Petek bearing Rabbeinu's name, which corresponds to the four blessings of Bircas HaMazon, being the spiritual food of today, the final stretch of our Galus - "My fire will burn until the coming of Moshiach".

NACHMA-  Aside from the Nekudos, these three letters also spells the word Nachem (comfort), which are the beginning letters of the final word of the section called Retzei within the 3rd blesssing that is recited specifically on Shabbos - Nechamos, the plural for comfort.

NACHMAN- This corresponds specifically to the fourth blessing, which is considered D'Rabbonon, unlike the first three blessings that are D'Oraisa.  In a sense, the 1st three blessings correspond to Torah She'B'Kesav while the 4th blessing corresponds to Torah She'B'Al Peh, which encompasses the Mishna and Gemoro.  With this said, the name Nachman, whose Mispar Koton is 13, and representing the COMPLETENESS of Rabbeinu's name, is the name specifically of Na Nach Nachma Nachman that corresponds to Torah She'B'Al Peh.  And as this 4th blessing was composed on Tu B'Av, we see that the 13th cycle of Daf Yomi, which began with Maseches Berachos that includes the concept and Mitzva of Bircas HaMazon, began on Tu B'Av, and the COMPLETION of this study of Maseches Berachos fell out on the 202th Yahrzeit of Rabbeinu.  And as for the number 202, the Mispor Koton for this is four, as this 2+0+2=4.

And speaking of the number 202 in relationship to Maseches Berachos and Breslov, the first two letters of the words Berachos and Breslov are BEIS and REISH, the letters that spell the number 202!  Moreover, this is also the first two letters of the word Bereishis, the first word of the Chumash - the first word of the Torah She'B'Kesav, and in relationship to the above, Moshe composed the first of the three blessings of Bircas HaMazon that are D'Oraisa that corresponds to Torah She'B'Kesav, which can also be said that these three blessings corresoponds to the three parts of the Tanach - Torah, Nevi'im, and Kesuvim; and hence, the first blessing corresponds specifically to the Chumash (Torah) which are the "Five Books of Moses", and the second blessing, which was composed by Yehoshua, corresponds to Nevi'im which begins with Sefer Yehoshua, and the third blessing which was composed by Dovid and Shlomo corresponds to Kesuvim, of which four of its 11 Seforim were composed between Dovid and Shlomo.

Now, for the question of the day - on which date in this 13th Daf Yomi cycle was Berachos Daf 48, which contains the statement of Rav Nachman as to the authorships of the four blessings of Bircas HaMazon, learned?  Answer:  The 2nd day of Rosh Hashana.  So yes, we see that this statement from Rav Nachman was learned worldwide during Rosh Hashana, the one time of the year that a good percentage of his followers are by him in Uman.  But, what is the significance of this being particularly on the SECOND day of Rosh Hashana?

It must be remembered that the last five and a half months of Rabbeinu's life was spent in Uman, which included the last Rosh Hashana of his life, the only Rosh Hashana that he spent in Uman.  And it was particularly ON THE SECOND NIGHT OF ROSH HASHANA that he delivered his final Torah - which is Likutei Moharan II:8.  It is this Torah that speaks all about the concept of Pashut, Kaful, Meshulash, and Meruba, hinting to Na Nach Nachma Nachman in the Petek which would be the continuation of Rabbeinu's lifeforce via his name - Gomarti V'Egmor "I finished, and I will finish".  It is also interesting that the word in Hebrew for finish in this instance is very similar to the word Gemoro.  In any case, we see that EXACTLY 202 YEARS after Rabbeinu spoke of the concept of the FOUR WORDED NAME in his final Torah on the second day of Rosh Hashana, the Daf Yomi which includes the statement of RAV(=202) NACHMAN about the authorship of the FOUR BLESSINGS OF BIRCAS HAMAZON was learned!

There is one more amazing thing to be learned here about the manna in relationship to Nanach.  To note, the manna, while it was food that sustained Bnei Yisroel, was more spiritual in nature than regular food, though in fact, everything is from Hashem.  The ultimate purpose of the manna was its spiritual preparation for Bnei Yisroel in the Midbor.  As Chazal tell us, the Torah was given to those who ate the manna.

With this said, we know that the Jews ate the manna for 40 years - or close to it.  To be exact, it was 40 years minus one month, beginning on 16 Iyar 2448, and ending on 15 Nissan 2488.  However, the last time that the manna rained down was on 7 Adar 2488, the date of Moshe's passing, but miraculously, there was enough manna remaining for Bnei Yisroel through the 1st day of Pesach in Eretz Yisroel.  Now, since the Torah was given specifically to the Jews "the eaters of the manna", let us note the date of the Giving of the Torah - 7 Sivan 2448.

Now that I have outlined the dates of the history of the manna, let us look closely at the time frame of 7 Sivan 2448 - 7 Adar 2488.  How many months in total was this?  As we know, a 19 year cycle in the  Jewish calendar includes seven leap months, hence a total of 235 months.  Double this for 38 years, and we have 470 months.  Now, since a leap month occurs once in every two or three years, we will assume no more leap months for the remaining two years of the 40 years in the Midbor, minus three months since we are starting the count from 7 Sivan when the Torah was given and ending the count on 7 Adar when Moshe passed away.  Hence, there were exactly 491 months from when the Torah was given until Moshe Rabbeinu passed away.  And the Gematria of Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman is...491!

In terms of Daf Yomi, this statement from Rav Nachman in the Gemoro was learned in the beginning of the 90th year - 2nd day of Rosh Hashana 5773 - since the inception of Daf Yomi that began on the 1st day of Rosh Hashana 5684.  And as Rav Nachman mentions Moshe Rabbeinu composing the first blessing of Bircas HaMazon when the manna first came down, the Gematria of the word Mohn is 90.  And of course, this is the numerical value of the letter Tzadi, as most related to the word Tzadik, and hence the concept of the Tzadik Yesod Olam - from Moshe Rabbeinu to Rabbeinu Nachman.

Well, one thing is for sure.  Bircas HaMazon for Na Nachs will never again be the same as for everyone else...

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