Parshat Shoftim by Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron                                                           בס"ד

לשכנו תדרשו

Discover the Holy Presence in the Holy Land

Seven Years and Seven Layers of the Brain

In the past three weeks, we discussed the brain, and now we will discuss the spine, one of the two other main components of the nervous system: the spinal cord and the nerves. We mentioned last week that the brain represents the more “lofty/Divine” aspect of the body, whereas the limbs of the body represent the more “earthly aspect of the body. Therefore, we may say that the nerves spread throughout the limbs of the body represent the more “earthly” aspect of the nervous system. Between the brain and these nerves stands the spinal cord which connects the signals between the brain and the body. It seems that also the shape of the spinal cord, similar to the long letter “vav,” the ultimate connecting letter, represents the function of the spinal cord as connecting “heaven and earth,” i.e the brain with the body. Our Sages made parallelism between the eighteen (or nineteen) bones of the spine and the eighteen (or nineteen) blessings of the Amida.

In general, the number eighteen, the numerical value of the word “hai,” life, represents the aspect of life. For example, in the Pesukei Dezimra, we say eighteen verses to evoke the praise of Hashem as the “Living God,” as we say in the concluding blessing of Pesukei Dezimra. We may say that in the Amida we also wish to show how Hashem is the “Living God” by asking that Hashem intervene in all aspects of life, thereby glorifying His Divine Name in connection with our earthly world. Indeed, this “aspect of life” can be more deeply understood from the first time “a living soul” is used in the Torah, in the context of the creation of man. There the Torah says that Hashem took a piece of earth and blew into it the “soul of life” thereby transforming this earth to become a living man. This implies that “life” is the unity between the Divine soul and the “earthly” body. Therefore, when we mention the Living God” there is a relationship to Hashem through the manner that Hashem unites the Divine with the earthly world. Therefore, the term the “Living God”, according to the Kabbalists is also deeply linked with another description of Hashem as the “Righteous One of Universe” – “Tzadiko shel Olam,” for Hashem, as the ultimate “Righteous” figure is the One Who gives the Divine power to the “living” righteous figures in our world.

This week’s Parsha carries great detail on various upright and righteous figures that are meant to lead our world on the Divine path – the judge, the prophet, the priest, the witness, the king, and more. We may say that these figures, when committing their mission properly, may sanctifying God’s Name, exemplifying how Hashem’s is truly the “Living God”, and the “Righteous One of Universe. In Hebron this message is especially potent, for in Hebron, the “City of Unity – Hibur,” we come in contact with the forerunners of all the righteous, our Godly Patriarchs and Matriarchs, who connect Heaven and Earth through the Divine power of the “Living God” Who “resides amongst them.

Real Miracles: Israel Independence War:

The Egyptian army launched an attack along the Mediterranean coast against the Kibbutz Yad Mordechai on May 19, 1948, as part of an offensive to take Tel Aviv. Two infantry battalions, one armored battalion and one artillery battalion expected to take the kibbutz of 130 residents in three hours. The battle raged for days. The Jewish defenders held off the entire Egyptian army much longer than anyone expected, using homemade weapons that many times did nothing more than make noise. They even used mock soldiers made out of wood, which they moved from trench to trench, in order to give the appearance of greater numbers. Although the Egyptians eventually broke through they were now days behind schedule and their morale was badly shaken.


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