Parshas Ve'eschanan
Deuteronomy 3:23 - 7:11

Passing The Torah On! ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of mysticism in Hebrew Gematria is dedicated in loving memory to James and Sissy Levin, may they rest in peace.

We read, "And Command Yehoshua and encourage Him and make him strong because he will cross [the Yardein] as the head of the people and he will apportion the land to them, the land that you will see." Deuteronomy 3:28

Unfortunately, dear readers, this is the exact opposite of what happens in certain Jewish circles. This idea of encouraging and strengthening the younger leadership in the eyes of the people is NOT DONE unless the younger rabbi is a relative. Over the years we at JewishPath have been strong advocates for the masses of Yidden that feel hurt, betrayed, abused, rejected and manipulated by rabbium. We continue in our call for rabbium to STOP ABUSIVE PRACTICES! One wonders how rabbium who are evil can remain in power.

In Pirkei Avos 1:1 we read, "Moshe received the Torah from [Har] Sinai and [began the process of Torah transmission. He] handed down to Yehoshua and Yehoshua [transmitted the Torah] to Elders and Elders [transmitted the Torah] to Prophets and Prophets handed down [the Torah] to the Men of the Great Assembly..."

Pirkei Avos describes the transmission of our Torah beautifully.

Let's observe this transmission...

"And said Hashem to Moshe, 'Take to yourself Yehoshua son of Nun, a spiritual man, [and authorize him] and support him with your hand. Elevate him. And stand him before Elazar the Kohein and before all witnesses and give him [the Torah] commands in front of their eyes. And bestow from your radiance [received on Har Sinai] upon him [so that he may] address [so that] all witnesses of Yisroel will hear him. And [standing] before Elazar the Kohein he will address and ask of him through judgment of the Urim before Hashem. On [the word of his] mouth they shall go out and come in, he and all B'nei Yisroel with him and all the witnesses.' And Moshe did all that Hashem commanded him. And he took Yehoshua and he stood him before Elazar the Kohein and before all witnesses and he [authorized him] supported him with his hand and elevated him and commanded him like [with all the words] that Hashem [gave] by Moshe's hand." Numbers 27:18-22

Now after Moshe's death, in Sefer Yehoshua we read, "And Yisroel served Hashem all the days of Yehoshua and all the days of the Elders. The length of days [of the Elders were made] longer [after] Yehoshua and that they knew all the works of Hashem that [He did] for Yisroel." Joshua 24:31

Now, dear reader, we know that these are the Elders Hashem commanded Moshe to gather in Numbers 11:16. "And said Hashem to Moshe assemble seventy men to Me from [among] Elders of Yisroel that you know to be Elders of the people and officers [of the people] and you shall take them to the Tent of Meeting and have them stand with you. And I will descend and I will speak there with you and I will make greater and form the spirit that is upon you and place it upon them [the Elders] and they will be lifted up along with you in [carrying the] burden of the people and no longer will you bear it alone." Numbers 11:16,17

Notice the selection criteria of the seventy Elders given to Moshe by Hashem:

1) Moshe was given an exact number of seventy men
2) He was to assemble the seventy men
3) The seventy selected men were to meet with Hashem and Moshe in the Tent of Meeting
4) Moshe was to personally select these men
5) Moshe was to select men from an already existing pool of known Elders
6) Moshe was to select only men that he emphatically knew to be "Elders of the people"

Notice the orientation of the seventy Elders:
1) These seventy men stood with Moshe in the Tent of Meeting
2) Hashem's presence descended within the Tent of Meeting
3) Hashem spoke with Moshe
4) Hashem increased Moshe's spirit
5) Hashem took from Moshe's increased spirit and placed it upon each of the seventy Elders

Notice the purpose:
1) The seventy Elders were uplifted to assist in carrying Moshe's burden of Kal Yisroel
2) The seventy Elders were uplifted to share Moshe's burden

Holy reader, from this we learn some important bottom lines. We learn that men who are intended to lead Kal Yisroel must be Elders. We learn that even though many men were Elders only seventy were selected to be "THE ElderS." We observe a most important criterion here. The Elders that Moshe selected were from among men that he knew TO BE ElderS OF THE PEOPLE."

Now let's evaluate the present day process:
Young men, NOT ElderS, study in a yeshiva or university. They become rabbium in their twenties / thirties. They are at entrance level into the rabbinic fraternity. At this point many are selected into areas of service as teachers for day schools, Bais Yaakovs, yeshivas and leaders of congregations etc. THIS IS MUCH TO EARILY! How will a young upstart, inexperienced rabbi deal with older, powerful rabbium above him who are guilty of abuse... manipulation... control... EVIL...? They will NOT deal with it!

Once I spoke with a rabbi that I respected. He appeared to be a very good man for many reasons. He was a good Jewish husband. He was a good Jewish father. He was a serious student of Torah for most of his life. He was well respected in the community. His name was frequently mentioned among a group of names to replace the community rav if he were to leave. He frequently taught in several local congregations. He worked well with people on many levels. He showed concern, kindness and self-control. He was a yeshiva rabbi for many years.

We sat down privately to discuss some serious issues regarding rabbium within the community. A rabbi was seen touching students in an in appropriate manner, another was seen frequenting an adult bookstore, another was seen playing slots in Las Vegas on Shabbos. One rabbi was know for his abusive conduct to subordinates and people in the community. Another was know for his practices of intimidation and lying. One rabbi was known for physical abuse. The story goes on and on. All of this in just one small Jewish community! WHY? Younger, less experienced rabbium could not deal with powerful, evil rabbium. Their attitudes carried over into the community...

When we sat down we did not discuss each of these situations. We discussed only the situations pertaining to this rabbi. At the conclusion of our discussion the young rabbi admittted to his knowledge of these problems but express helplessness. His feelings were, 'What can I do? These are older more established, powerful rabbium. Who am I to confront them? If I confronted them I would lose [my extremely cushie] position. If I were to confront them my name would be blackballed...'

I could understand his list of excuses. They were very real to him!! People in the community obviously had their own reasons for the same conclusions.

Dear readers, the purpose of today's discussion is to say that those who are evil rabbium feel very comfortable within their power regimes. Those who are evil bully the younger, inexperienced and less experienced rabbium knowing there is little that they can or will do after spending years to just squeak into the rabbinic fraternity. They bully the community they live in.

Communities with such problems WILL NOT GROW! The Jews in those communities are here today and gone tomorrow. They are revolving door communities.

Communities where rabbium are respected grow. Jews come to learn. Jews stay. Those communities are wonderful places to live. They are great places to raise families. Yidden want to raise their children in communities where rabbium are respected for the right reasons NOT out of fear of retaliation!!

Rabbium are to take Moshe's example of encouraging and strengthening the younger leadership in the eyes of the people. They are to be the ones who gently guide younger less experienced rabbium into good, honest leadership positions. They are the ones who are supposed to support the younger rabbium in the eyes of the people! Yet in some communities the only rabbium receiving endorsements are devotees of the evil men in powerful positions who grasp and hold their positions with tactics of fear and intimidation!!

Dear reader, when a young rabbi is selected for a position if a problem occurs with a powerful rabbi, what experience does he have to draw from? Who can he turn to for guidance? He did not learn directly from Moshe. He does not have a supporting cast of Elders to share his load with as did Moshe. He does not have a Tent of Meeting or a Kohein or the Urim to stand before with his questions even though he may deeply wish that he did. What is he to do?

The rabbi is NOT an Elder. He was not selected from a vast pool of Elders. He is a young, inexperienced graduate of a university or yeshiva or a less experienced rabbi who needs the support of older {good} rabbium. He may be popular among his family, friends, teachers and religious community, but that by itself does not allow for the enoromous leap into the position he is expected to fill and what he will be forced to contend with. Popularity is not the only criterion! Being hand selected by Moshe Rabbeinu was the second tier of the criteria. Being loved by one's family, friends, teachers and religious community is hardly the same endorsement.

The Elders then received a portion of Moshe's spirit.... I believe...

When Moshe's spirit was increased it was then that Hashem expanded his understanding of Torah to seventy levels as we spoke about in last week's parsha . So even though Moshe's spirit was increased and shared with seventy Elders they each only had a small portion of Moshe's spirit, possibily one seventh... Now any rabbi that could sit at the feet of Moshe Rabbeinu or share from even one seventh of his spirit would be so greatly enhanced by that alone. Today that experience is absent even from the greatest of our rabbium let alone our young entrance and mid level rabbium.

We could go on and on about the difficulties in the rabbinic fraternity. The greatest problem is us the people whom they serve. We are the ones who frequently put them in these positions and support them. We are the ones who make them powerful! We are the ones who attempt to use our money and power to persuade them. So why should we be suprised when a few take on our evil nature?

Our responsibility as a community is to do as Moshe did. We are to support and to encourage our leadership. Unfortunately some of us encourage and support the wrong things. The intention was and is to ENCOURAGE TORAH! SUPPORT TORAH!

Chassidim, Judaism is so diluted from the awesome level of Har Sinai that we as a people... the nation that once stood at Har Sinai... now support our own ideas... our own programs... our own agendas instead of Torah! So our lesson today is we the Jewish descendants of Har Sinai must reclaim that awesome level before we approach the month of Elul, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. It is our responsibility to properly prepare for these days that are quickly approaching. How can we hold even our worst leaders in contempt when we who should share the burden are slack in even our small areas of understanding and responsibilities? Sometimes fallen leadership is the result of improper and non support as we have discussed today.

It is time for us to pick up the tempo of our prayers!! It time for us to perspire in serious Torah study!! It is time for us to seek forgiveness for our own lukewarm experience by turning up the heat of revival, renewal and repentance within each of our lives.. Now is the time to prepare for Yom Kippur... Only G-d knows the great power behind the serious preparatrion of each Jew between now and Yom Kippur... It is up to each individual Jew as to how deliberately, cautiously and appropriately we pass the Torah on... Pass the Torah On!

When we consider the mystical difference between Moshe and Yehoshua we observe that the difference is 46. In a mystical sense it is this difference that was added on to Yehoshua.

345 =
Hey 5 Shin 300 Mem 40

391 =
Ayin 70 Shin 300 Vav 6 Hey 5 Yud 10

391 = 345 + 46

Chassidim, it is as if Moshe added to Yehoshua "Goodness" in the mystical sense like that which Hashem intended for Yoseif. Li Toh Vaw, meaning "to do goodness" is taken from when Yoseif said to his brothers regarding his being sold into slavery by them, "You [my brethren] meant it for evil to me, but G-d [as judge] meant it for good..." Genesis 50:20

Li Toh Vaw {to do goodness}
46 = Hey 5 Bais 2 Tes 9 Lamid 30

So here we see the difference between Moshe and Yehoshua as being "to do goodness." In other words, Moshe's way of encouraging and strengthening the younger Yehoshua in the eyes of the people was to do goodness. The intent of strengthening the younger rabbium and mid level rabbium is to do goodness, NOT TO SUPPORT A SYSTEM THAT SUPPORTS SUPPRESSION, ABUSE AND MISCONDUCT!

The word Ci Voh Deh Chaw, means 'Your Glory' as in Hashem's Glory... which was what Moshe's face glowed with when he came down from Har Sinai. It was this Glory that he, Moshe, was to support Yehoshua with... It was this glory that was to be placed upon the seventy Elders who after Moshe's death were strengthened...

Ci Voh Deh Chaw {
Your Glory}
46 = Chof 20 Dalet 4 Bais 2 Chof 20

Blessings and peace!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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