Arie E. Pelta
Arie E. Pelta

Lag BaOmer and Rabbi Akiva’s 24,000 students (part 4 of 4)

The Generation of the Dog

We are living in an era of falsehood שקר .  The media is known as “Fake News”.  The paradigm of democracy, USA, had a clearly corrupt election in 2020.  Clearly, Democracy is not the best form of government.  People are confused who is a man and who is a woman. Israel (Judea, Yerushalayim,) the undisputed homeland of the Jewish people for centuries is always under international debate, whether the Land of Israel actually belongs to the Arabs from Arabia.  Those who commit murder and terrorism are believed to utter words of peace.

The COVID crisis has destroyed the world economy, education and convinced masses of intelligent people that anti-bacterial masks or a plain cloth can protect one from a virus. Now there is a debate who is actually a Jew and what defines Judaism. Those people who reject the laws of the Torah and the Jewish religion want to be considered Jews and also create others who reject all of our sacred beliefs.  Rabbis are claiming expertise in the nuances of immunology and understanding medical literature.  Iran the world leader of terrorism is expecting assistance from the USA.  There is a universal ignorance of truth versus facts or שקר versus אמת. Is this the generation of Moshiach ben Dovid?

תלמוד בבלי סנהדרין צז עמוד א

תניא רבי יהודה אומר דור שבן דוד בא בו …וחכמת הסופרים תסרח, ויראי חטא ימאסו, ופני הדור כפני הכלב, והאמת נאדרת שנאמר: ” ותהי האמת נעדרת וסר מרע משתולל”.

In the generation when the son of Dovid will come…the wisdom of scholars will decay, those who fear sin will be despised, the face of the generation will be like the face of a dog, and the truth will be absent. As it is stated (Yishayah 59:15): “And the truth will be absent, and he that turns away from evil will be come foolish.” (Talmud Bavli 97a).

 

Israel Is The Land of “Barzel”

According to the Ari z”l, Eretz Yisrael is called the “land of iron” or ברזל because of the invested power of our mothers who lived and died here.  This land is named for our mothers (Bilha Rachel, Zilpa, Leah) who gave birth to the twelve tribes of Israel, who are the only inheritors of the Land of Israel.

= ברזל   בלהה רחל זילפה לאה

 

דברים ח:ט, פרשת עקב

אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר לֹא בְמִסְכֵּנֻת תֹּאכַל בָּהּ לֶחֶם לֹא תֶחְסַר כֹּל בָּהּ אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲבָנֶיהָ בַרְזֶל וּמֵהֲרָרֶיהָ תַּחְצֹב נְחֹשֶׁת.

A land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, you will lack nothing in it, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose mountains you will hew copper (Devarim 8:9).

Yaakov and Rachel, parallel Rabbi Akiva and Rachel his wife. Yakov has the same letters as Akiva in his name, when spelled phonetically.

יעקב = עקיב

Rabbi Akiva was the son of a man named Yosef. Yakov our forefather, had a son Yosef who was sold into slavery near Shechem.  In this city, Yaakov’s sons killed  24,000 people and later on in history 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva died.

There is an opinion that Golden Calf עגל הזהב that the Jews worshipped at Har Sinai on the 17th of Tamuz, was created from a bone of Yosef.  When it was thrown into a bonfire  they said “arise ox” עלי שור .

In Yakov’s final blessings to his children, he calls Yosef an ox.

בראשית מט: כב , פרשת ויחי

בֵּ֤ן פֹּרָת֙ יוֹסֵ֔ף בֵּ֥ן פֹּרָ֖ת עֲלֵי עָ֑יִן בָּנ֕וֹת צָֽעֲדָ֖ה עֲלֵי שֽׁוּר.

A charming son is Yosef, a son charming to the eye; [of the] women, [each one] strode along to see him, arise ox! (Bereishis 49:22).

In the final conversation between Yakov and Yosef, he was taught the Jewish Law of accompanying a person out of one’s city, in order to prevent his death by robbers. If this person is found dead, the elders of the city need to prove their innocence by slaughtering an ox עגלה ערופה , at the location of the murder.

For this reason, when Yosef sent messengers to bring Yakov from Israel to Egypt, he needed to show evidence that he, Yosef, was indeed alive. Therefore, he specifically sent wagons עגלות, to carry Yakov down to Egypt.  Only, Yakov could pick up on this subtle hint of their last conversation before he disappeared.

Similarly, Shechem refers to the Ultimate Redemption גאולה .  We say this daily in our Kaddish prayer, to bring Moshiach in our lifetime, ”  בעגלה ובזמן קריב”, quickly and immediately.  However, this last phrase also refers to the “ox” עגלה who is connected to Shechem, Moshiach ben Yosef.

 

According to the Shem MiShmuel, “Shechem” refers to “a portion”.  This is a location where one discovers his role in this world. Shechem’s mistake was to overestimate his capabilities and his place in this world, by wanting to impregnate Yakov’s daughter.

The city of Shechem is located in the valley next to Har Gerizim. This is the mountain where the Jews swore responsibility for each other, ערבים זה לזה.

In the Talmud, we learn that the first Moshiach is from Yosef and he will subsequently die in battle. We pray that Moshiach does not have to die . The second Moshiach is a descendant of Dovid.

תלמוד בבלי סוכה מב עמוד א

רבי דוסא ורבנן חד אמר על משיח בן יוסף שנהרג

Rabbi Dosa and the Rabbis disagree concerning this matter. One said that this eulogy is for Moshiach ben Yosef who was killed in the war of Gog from the Land of Magog, prior to the ultimate redemption with the coming of Moshiach ben Dovid…( Talmud Bavli Sukkah 52a).

 

Yosef corresponds to the year’s 5,000-6,000 Hebrew calendar. We are currently in the Jewish year 5781. There are only 219 years left in this era prior to “Tohu v’Vohu”; when the world will return to the situation of Bereishis.

The Zohar (VaYakhel 220a), teaches the area around Yosef’s grave, will be the first to be destroyed in the war of Gog and Magog. Therefore, in Shechem they will first see the resurrection of the dead and then 40 years later it will then spread to the world.

In the Christian year 2000, the Arabs (the Palestinian Authority) destroyed the tomb of Yosef and burned it to the ground. The battle for the graves of Yosef, Efrayim and Menashe demonstrate that the Messianic process has already begun twenty-one years ago.  One year after the desecration of the Tomb of Yosef , the Twin Towers  in New York were burned down by terrorist on 9-11-2001.  The world and especially the USA has never been the same since.

 

To Shechem

According to the Zohar, Shechem is a place where Shechina dwells. Once Avraham demonstrated in Ur Kasdim that he could control his Yetzer Hara (the snake נחש part of his soul),  he followed the word of G-d and he moved to Eretz Yisrael (לך לך).  He traveled to the location that the Shechina (Divine Presence of G-d) dwells.

            בראשית יב: א ,ו , פרשת לך לך

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר ה֙ אֶל אַבְרָ֔ם לֶךְ לְךָ֛ מֵֽאַרְצְךָ֥ וּמִמּֽוֹלַדְתְּךָ֖ וּמִבֵּ֣ית אָבִ֑יךָ אֶל הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַרְאֶֽךָּ:.. וַיַּֽעֲבֹ֤ר אַבְרָם֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ עַ֚ד מְק֣וֹם שְׁכֶ֔ם עַ֖ד אֵל֣וֹן מוֹרֶ֑ה וְהַכְּנַֽעֲנִ֖י אָ֥ז בָּאָֽרֶץ:

And Hashem said to Avram, “Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you… And Avram passed through the land, until the place of Shechem, until the plain of Moreh, and the Canaanites were then in the land (Bereishis 12: 1,6).

In the future, all will speak Hebrew and be united in by .”שכם אחד”

צפניה ג:ט

כִּי אָ֛ז אֶהְפֹּ֥ךְ אֶל עַמִּ֖ים שָׂפָ֣ה בְרוּרָ֑ה לִקְרֹ֚א כֻלָּם֙ בְּשֵׁ֣ם ה’ לְעָבְד֖וֹ שְׁכֶ֥ם אֶחָֽד:

For then I will convert the peoples to a pure language that all of them call in the name of Hashem, to worship Him of one (Shechem) accord (Tzafania 3:9).

Shechem was first settled by Avraham and then by Yaakov. Once the Jews settled in Eretz Yisrael, Yehoshua moved to Shechem because this was the first Jewish settlement.

 

Valley of the bones

24,000 children of Yosef from the tribe of Efrayim left Egypt and went to Eretz Yisrael. They left prior to the designated time decreed by G-d. They were therefore all killed and buried in the “Valley of the Bones” near the city of Gat. Since they did not have permission from G-d, they did not have divine protection and the merit to enter Israel.

These 24,000 people were grandchildren of Shechem – they wanted to return to Israel and perform a Tikun for their ancestor’s sins! However, it’s a sin and not a Tikun, when we do actions of our own volition and do not listen to G-d’s commandments.

 

Manna Began To fall On Lag Ba’Omer; Stopped on 7th Adar

Haman was hanged on the second night of Pesach, when we start counting the Omer. On the 33rd day of the Omer (Lag BaOmer) the manna המן began to fall in the desert. The manna stopped falling from heaven on the 7th of Adar, the day Moshe died. It lasted until the 16th of Nissan (second day of Pesach) because it took the Jewish nation thirty-nine days until they entered Eretz Yisrael.

תלמוד בבלי, קידושין לח עמוד א

בשבעה באדר מת משה ופסק מן מלירד, והיו מסתפקין ממן שבכליהם עד ששה עשר בניסן.

Moshe died on the 7th of Adar and the manna ceased falling, and they ate the manna that was left in their vessels until the 16th of Nissan [second day of pesach], [even after they entered Eretz Yisrael] (Talmud Bavli Kiddushin 38a).

This is the time of Moshiach. On Purim, the evil Haman literally fell from power.  This hints to us about the fall of Amalek in the time of Moshiach. For this reason, the month of Adar precedes the month of Nissan.

In the month of Adar we increase our joy, this is expressed through acts of selfless love of one Jew to the next אהבת חינם . On Purim we give mishloach monos, to put this theme into action.  We need to show extra kindness to each other, especially during this time period and not repeat the mistakes of the Rabbinical students of Rabbi Akiva who died at this time, specifically because they did not show respect to one another.

The days between Pesach and Shavuos are a time for Tikkun. This is the time to prepare for Moshiach ben Yosef.

Human hair is represented by the Sefira of “Strength” גבורה. During this time period we do not get haircuts or shave our beards.  Ironically, Rabbi Akiva was bald. On Lag BaOmer we cut our hair as a demonstration the strict bad times are behind us, and now we have a “sweetening” of the judgment process from G-d.

 

Conclusion

On Pesach we celebrate our leaving Egypt and entering the Land of Israel. The real “Yom HaAzmaut”!

יהושע ה: י

וַיַּֽחֲנ֥וּ בְנֵֽי יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בַּגִּלְגָּ֑ל וַיַּֽעֲשֹ֣וּ אֶת הַפֶּ֡סַח בְּאַרְבָּעָה֩ עָשָֹ֨ר י֥וֹם לַחֹ֛דֶשׁ בָּעֶ֖רֶב בְּעַֽרְב֥וֹת יְרִיחֽוֹ:

And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and they made the Pesach sacrifice on the fourteenth day of the month at evening in the plains of Yericho (Yehoshua 5:10).

Rav Akiva’s students died from speaking badly about each other. The sins of the mouth cancelled out and made dirty the Torah of the mouth. We need to emulate the 36 Tzadikim in the world and ingest the reality of the Torah at Har Sinai over 36 days and the Oral Law that is taught in the 36 tractates of Talmud.

The time leading up to Lag BaOmer is a time a major spiritual growth and rectification that goes back centuries. It is not an easy task.  Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai taught us that our goal in life is to learn Torah in Eretz Yisrael and in this manner one acquired Olam Haba.  If it’s an easy process than is has not been give to you! If it’s a difficult process than this is proof that that has given you his special gifts that we need to accept with appreciation and love of G-d.

            תלמוד בבלי ברכות דף ה עמוד א

תניא רבי שמעון בן יוחאי אומר: שלש מתנות טובות נתן הקדוש ברוך הוא לישראל וכולן לא נתנן אלא ע”י יסורין אלו הן תורה וארץ ישראל והעולם הבא.

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai says: Three good gifts were GIVEN by G-d to Israel and all of them were GIVEN only through suffering. They are: 1) Torah 2) Eretz Yisrael 3) Olam Haba (Talmud Bavli Berachos 5a).

This day of Lag BaOmer connects the Shimon from the time of Shechem, Nasi Shimon (leader of his tribe) in the desert, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, Rabbi Akiva ben Yosef and Moshiach ben Yosef.

May we greet Moshiach ben Yosef in our days!

בזכות יוסף הצדיק, ואפרים ומנשה, ימלא משאלותינו לטובה!

About the Author
Arie E. Pelta, M.D., a Board Certified General and Colorectal Surgeon from the USA , made aliyah with his wife and 7 children in 2013. He is also a active Medical Corps Officer holding the rank of Captain in the IDF Reserves. Currently practicing in Laniado Hospital in Netanya; speciaizing in the surgical care of all problems of the colon, rectum and anus.
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