Past Weekly Shabbat Message
Rabbi Dovid Saks
(Torah Portion Ki Sisah) Coded Names!
With this week’s portion of Ki Sisa, we reached the milestone of having published the weekly Shabbat messages for seventeen years! Currently, there are over 4000 recipients!
Let me share a fascinating insight derived from the Megilla of Esther that can bring an appreciation of this Rabbinically instituted holiday to a whole new level. The Talmud cites various opinions of our Sages as to how we know that the Megilla was written with Divine spirit.
The Sages focused on various verses in the Megilla to find its Divine character. For example, Rebbe Akiva highlights the verse, “Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her.” What intrigued Rebbe Akiva was, how it was possible for the author of the Megilla to know that everyone was enamored with Esther if not through Divine inspiration.
Another example, Rebbe Yosi of Durmaskis cites the verse, “After the Jews defended themselves, they did not take an iota of the spoils of war.” Rebbe Yosi ponders how this private information can be known if the information was not revealed through Divine sources.
Rav Yosef looks at the verse, “And the holiday of Purim will never cease from being observed by the Jews.” Rav Yosef is astonished how it is possible for the writer of the Megilla to know that the Holiday of Purim will never be rejected in the future. Only if the Megilla was written with Divine inspiration – from Hashem, the One who Knows and Controls past, present and future, can such a certain pronouncement be made.
The Talmud tells us that Mordechai and Esther’s names are hinted at in the Torah, and comes up with verses that allude to their names.
This means that Mordechai and Esther, who lived close to 1000 years after the Torah was sealed are alluded to in the Torah.
The nature of the Megilla is that it is a potent source of fascinating hidden messages.
Rabbi Michoel Dov Weissmandl, was a brilliant Torah sage who is famously known for his pioneering and brilliant work on Torah - Bible Codes in an era far before computers came into being.
In the 1950’s Rabbi Yaacov Mordechai Greenwald visited Rabbi Weissmandl in the month of Adar, a short time before Purim. He recalls:
"Rabbi Weissmandl asked me if I knew how many letters there are in Megilla of Esther?"
"No," I replied; "I have no idea."
"Well, "I counted! There are 12,196 letters in the Megilla."
I asked the Rabbi, if there is any significance to this number.
He smiled. "Bring me a Chumash – Torah, whereupon he told me:
"Starting from the first instance that the letter alef appears in the Torah, if you count an interval equal to the number of letters in Megillas Esther -12,196 letters - you arrive at a letter samech. If you continue and count another 12,196 letters from that point you get to a letter tof; and if you keep on counting another 12,196 letters you land on a letter reish. And, of course, alef-samech-tof-reish spells the name Esther!” “Is this not amazing?"
"It certainly is," I answered enthusiastically. And then I added with a grin, "but is there a connection to Mordechai too? "I don't know yet. Try me again next year."
The next Adar, I made sure to visit Rabbi Weissmandl again. "What about Mordechai?" I asked.
"I also found a hint to Mordechai," he announced. "Our sages point out that there is a hint to Mordechai in the Torah, and that is where the verse states (in this week’s Portion) concerning the Holy anointing oil formula for the vessels and Priests, “You shall take the finest fragrances: 'mor dror…' (quite similar to the name Mordechai)
Rabbi Weissmandl continued: "Now, if you count from the Hebrew letter mem of the word mor dror the number of letters in the Megillah, which is 12,196, you come to a letter reish. And if you keep counting in the same sequence 12,196 letters you will get a dalet and then a chof and then a yud - spelling out the name Mordechai!”
Quite awesome and amazing!
Wishing you a restful, peaceful and inspirational Shabbos!
Rabbi Dovid and Malki Saks