Parshas Emor
Leviticus 21:1 - 24:23

Defining Holiness Gematria 591 ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of mysticism in Hebrew Gematria is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Gary Lee Belk and Mr. Donald Wayne Belk, may they rest in peace.


Within our universe there seems to be a misconception of what it means to be holy. We must consider the questions: What is Holy? What is Holiness? Who defines what Holy means? Does it matter who defines the meaning of Holiness?

The Story Of the Shwartzah Wolf
So often we look so holy with our long black coats, our black hats, our black kippas, our short hair, our payos, our long dresses, our sheitels, our outward actions, our Shabbos attendance, our davening and many other outward appearances. The problem with outward appearances is that too often they are founded on showtime pretenses. They are not real. Good habits are important. And they are healthy. Yet, to suggest that smoking and drinking among other habits are the soil for sinners is wrong. In fact, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, may he rest in peace, related the story of the Shwartzah Wolf as told to the Belzer Rebbe by the great grandson.
There was a man who for many years had no children. And the gates of heaven were closed to him and his wife. This man was instructed to get a bracha from the Shwartzah Wolf. As the head of the thirty-six tzaddikim, he was the only one who could open the gates of Heaven.

However, the Shwartzah Wolf, a woodchuck living in the forest, was a very unpopular Jew in the community. He was described as being obnoxious. And his wife's words and his children's actions could not be repeated. This is a man who was not given an aliya at the community shul and for whose funeral the men of the shul did not want to make a minyan. Yet he was the head of the thirty-six tzaddikim, the only one who could open the gates of Heaven.

This desperate individual devised a plan to obtain the blessing from the Shwartzah Wolf. He would appear at the Shwartzah Wolf's home as a Jew acting lost in the forest shortly before Shabbos. His thinking was, "They will be forced to offer me accommodations." He knocked on the door. The wife of the Shwartzah Wolf appeared at the door, so ugly, so vial, so intimidating. The children behind her were mean like little devils. The house was in disarray, unkept and untidy. The home of the tzaddik felt like a scary place.

The Yid said, "I'm lost in the forest, Shabbos is about to begin, may I please stay at your house?"

She cursed at him and directed him to the barn where he could sleep on the hay. She warned him that her husband would kill him if he came near the house during Shabbos.

Late that evening, the Shwartzah Wolf appeared before him in the barn and warned him, "I expect you to be gone two minutes after Shabbos is over. Don't open the door to my house or I'll kill you with my bare hands."

The Yid was terrified. He was a dead man. His wife would be childless. The Shwartzah Wolf would not give him the bracha. The gates of Heaven would remain closed. Then late on Shabbos afternoon he began to cry. He fell to his knees there in the barn, openly sobbing out of control as he remembered his tears could open the gates of Heaven. It was at that time that the barn door flew open and there stood the Shwartzah Wolf, shining as the High Priest, inviting him to the third meal of Shabbos, Shalosh Seudos.

They entered the home together. The wife of the Shwartzah Wolf was exquisitely beautiful, the children were well behaved and adorable, shining like little priests. The house was immaculate and tidy like the Bais HaMikdash.

The Shwartzah Wolf said, "I know why you have come, and the gates of Heaven are open to you.. I grant you your request. I bless you with a son. I have only one request, that you name him after me."...

The Yid trembled with excitement as he traveled home to share the news with his wife...The next morning in shul he learned that the Shwartzah Wolf had died, may he rest in peace.

Reb Shlomo goes on to explain that a tzaddik of this position is a mirror that reflects our own neshama. So if we use inappropriate language or if our behavior is obnoxious then the tzaddik only mirrors what we truly are. The tzaddik does NOT mirror what we appear to be or what others think we are. On the other hand, if we are holy, the tzaddik mirrors that holiness.

So the point is real holiness may NOT be based on the conformity of how one dresses or if one lives in a community or one's education or one's position in the community. The tzaddik could be the woodchuck in the wilderness who cannot bear community incongruity. It gives us something to think about...

As we review these questions let's begin by saying it greatly matters who defines holiness.

Recently a staff member at JewishPath was sharing notes from a class that he attended. The class leader was discussing a Jew's responsibility to live by the Torah's definition of what it means to be Jewish. This discussion was in an Orthodox shul to Orthodox Jews. The class leader stated that Jews who dress "LIKE" frum Jews need to live within the Torah's definition / expectation of frumkeit!

In the same way, the world needs to understand what holiness is and who defines what holiness is. Holiness is not up for personal interpretation. Holiness was predefined before the Creation of man or religion. Holiness was defined by Hashem!
The Tenach states, "There is none holy as Hashem for there is none besides You: neither is there any rock like our G-d." 1Sam. 2:2

The Torah clearly states that Hashem expects Kal Yisroel to be holy! Why?

"You shall be holy, {WHY?} for I Hashem, your G-d, am Holy." Leviticus 19:2

"You shall be holy to Me, {WHY?} for I Hashem, am Holy." Leviticus 20:26

"You shall make him {the Kohen} holy {even against his will, Rashi} {WHY?} for he offers the bread of your G-d; he shall be holy unto you {WHY?} for I, Hashem, am Holy, Who makes you holy." Leviticus 21:8

Again, the point is Hashem expects Kal Yisroel to be Holy! Why?

Kal Yisroel is called by His Name... "If my people, which are called by my name..." "and My people, upon whom My Name is proclaimed..." 2 Chronicles 7:14

"Speak to Aharon and to his sons and let them keep away from the holy offerings of B'nei Yisroel {on the days of their impurities, Rashi} and they shall not profane My Holy Name which they sanctify for Me, I am Hashem." Leviticus 22:2

"You shall not profane My Holy Name but I will be sanctified among, B'nei Yisroel. I am Hashem Who makes you holy." Leviticus 22:32

This tells us something about a Jew's responsibility. We are NOT TO PROFANE Hashem's Holy Name! Instead we are to SANCTIFY HASHEM'S HOLY NAME! No other people or religion is given this great and holy responsibility! Only Kal Yisroel is held responsible to SANCTIFY HASHEM'S HOLY NAME! So how do we fulfill our important responsibility? What is our guideline? The Torah of Hashem is our guide.

Dear reader, ONLY THE TORAH DEFINES what the Jew's responsibility of holiness is. Holy reader, ONLY THE TORAH DEFINES what Hashem deems as holy.

It is the Torah that proclaims:
"And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation." Exodus 19:6

It is the Torah that teaches:
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." Exodus 20:8

It is the Torah that instructs:
"..the ark of the Testimony in the most holy place." Exodus 26:34

It is the Torah that guides:
"..make holy garments for Aaron your brother, and his sons.." Exodus 28:4

It is the Torah that requires: holy garments Ex. 28:2, the holy offering, the holy gifts Ex. 28:38, the holy crown, Ex. 29:6, the holy altar Ex. 29:37, the holy ointment, the holy anointing oil Ex. 30:25, the holy rim Ex. 39:30, the holy Mishkon, the holy utensils Ex. 40:9, the holy offerings Lev. 2:3, the holy crown Lev. 8:9, the holy linen coat Lev. 16:3, the holy sanctuary Lev. 16:33, the holy fruit Lev. 19:24, the holy things Lev. 22:2, the Holy Name Lev. 22:32, the holy gathering Lev. 23:2 and many, many, more items and degrees of holiness.

Now, holy reader, please realize that for these reasons and many others the Torah is very well and very, very alive, THANK G-D! Also please realize that while other people and other religions may sanctify Hashem's holy name at their choice, ONLY KAL YISROEL ARE COMMANDED AND REQUIRED BY HASHEM TO DO SO! It is a very, very serious responsibility to be chosen for such an important task! Not only is the responsibility very important but the Book, the Torah, which instructs us in fulfilling these responsibilities is also extremely IMPORTANT! The Torah is our guide! No other book has replaced our Torah!!

Our sages have said that every Jew is holy. That is true. However our holiness is echad {one}! We Kal Yisroel as echad {as one} are a kingdom of priests. We Kal Yisroel as echad {as one} are a holy nation. The Gematria for "Kal Yisroel" is 591. The Gematria for Ah Nee Hashem Mi Kah Deesh Chem {meaning "I am Hashem Who makes you [Kal Yisroel] holy"} is also 591. So from this we learn that it is Hashem that chooses, requires and makes Kal Yisroel holy, and it is the Torah that teaches Kal Yisroel to differentiate between holy and unholy, and between clean and unclean.

{From Righ to Left}

Kal Yisroel

50 =
Lamid = 30 + Chof= 20 +
541 = Lamid = 30 + Aleph = 1 + Reish = 200 + Sin = 300 + Yod = 10

591 = 50 + 541


Ah Nee Hashem Mi Kah Deesh Chem

Ah Nee Hashem
87 = Hey =5 + Vav = 6 + Hey = 5 + Yud = 10 + Yud = 10 + Nun = 50 + Aleph = 1 +
Mi Kah Deesh Chem
504 = Mem = 40 + Chof = 20 + Shin = 300 + Dalid = 4 + Kuf = 100 + Mem = 40

591 = 87 = 504

The Story Of Eighteen Boys Who Grasped Holiness:
"Achieving G-d's Perfection"
In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school that caters to learning-disabled children. Some children remain in Chush for their entire school career, while others can be main-streamed into conventional schools.

At a Chush fund-raising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, "Where is the perfection in my son Shaya? Everything G-d does is done with perfection. But my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child cannot remember facts and figures as other children do. Where is
God's perfection?"

The audience was shocked by the question, pained by the father's anguish and stilled by the piercing query. "I believe," the father answered, "that when G-d brings a child like this into the world, the perfection that He seeks is in the way people react to this child."

He then told the following story about his son Shaya:

One afternoon Shaya and his father walked past a park where some boys Shaya knew were playing baseball. Shaya asked, "Do you think they will let me play?" Shaya's father knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most boys would not want him on their team. But Shaya's father
understood that if his son was chosen to play it would give him a comfortable sense of belonging.

Shaya's father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if Shaya could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates.

Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We are losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning."

Shaya's father was ecstatic as Shaya smiled broadly. Shaya was told to put on a glove and go out to play short center field.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shaya's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shaya's team scored again and now with two outs and the bases loaded with the potential winning run on base, Shaya was scheduled to be up. Would the team actually let Shaya bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shaya was given the bat. Everyone knew that it was all but impossible because Shaya didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it. However, as Shaya stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shaya should at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came in and Shaya swung clumsily and missed. One of Shaya's teammates came up to Shaya and together they held the bat and faced the pitcher waiting for the next pitch. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shaya.

As the pitch came in, Shaya and his teammate swung the bat and together they hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shaya would have been out and that would have ended the game. Instead, the
pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman.

Everyone started yelling, "Shaya, run to first. Run to first!" Never in his life had Shaya run to first. He scampered down the baseline wide eyed and startled. By the time he reached first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman who would tag out Shaya, who was still running. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions were, so he
threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second." Shaya ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home. As Shaya reached second base, the opposing short stop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base and shouted, "Run to third." As Shaya rounded third, the boys from both teams ran behind him screaming, "Shaya, run home!" Shaya ran home, stepped on home plate and all 18 boys lifted him on their shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit a "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "those 18 boys reached their level of G-d's perfection."

Here were eighteen young men who from the kindness of their heart reached a level of holiness for their action. We don't know if these young people were religious or not. we don't know if they wore all the traditional garb or not. However what we do know is that they as a group did a very righteous act. May Hashem bless them!

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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